Friday, December 28, 2012

Hidden Energy Taxes

Okay, so the blog on "Remember costly EDECA?" was boring -- but true, about 1999's deregulation of utilities here in New Jersey. 3% of our monthly utility bill goes to the State to pay all those extra costs.

Another charge on your monthly utility bill, that isn't shown, is 7% State Sales Tax. Now, I don't mind paying sales tax on energy -- I pay it on everything else, so I don't mind. This tax brings in $380 million annually (Source: March 2012 OLS and Budget Estimate). That's a lot of dough.

The only problem is that this tax does not show up on your utility bill -- at all. I don't like that. I feel that if you're going to tax me, at least show me how much it costs me each month.
Bottom line: 10% of my monthly utility bill is in hidden taxes.

I think that's unfair. The utility companies imply that it will cost too much to break out the taxes on my bill. That's hogwash. With computers and software, it can be done. Okay, I agree, with over a million customers (PSE&G), it would be tedious. Fine, do it and charge me the cost of doing it -- once. After that, its the cost of doing business.

Further, having been in charge of buying the State's own electricity and gas for use by State agencies, for ten years, I know that the State, even though it's a non-profit governmental entity, pays itself the sales tax on energy as well. That's stupid! The State is collecting sales tax, from itself, to pay itself. Hundreds of state agencies could really use that 7% savings, let me tell you. They should also be exempt from the other 3% in taxes for things like the Societal Benefits Charge, also on every urility bill.

When I buy a ream of paper at Staples, I get a receipt that shows the 7% in sales tax. That's only fair and reasonable. Why not on my utility bill?

What are these politicians and government bureaucrats trying to hide? Don't we want more transparency, not less?

So I urge you to write your NJ legislators, the NJ BPU, the utility companies and the newspapers, to simply show us what we pay on our utility bill. It's only fair.

Rodney Richards copyright 2014

Check out my bipolar journey with happy interludes in my memoir Episodes available no from, as well as my other longtime blog, ABlessedLifeinAmerica on Google's Blogger!

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