Sewage Fee or Toilet Tax?

November 1, 2010; Source: Syosset Patch |Here’s an intriguingly blatant attempt to impose taxes on tax exempt organizations. The Nassau County (NY) government has added a sewer “usage fee” as a revenue raiser in its budget. The odd feature is that this usage fee targets nonprofit organizations, including fire departments, schools, nonprofit hospitals, and nonprofit colleges. The fee would be determined based on winter water usage (to avoid imposing the fee on nonprofits that might use water for irrigation) at one cent for every gallon of usage. The Republicans in the county legislature hope that this expected $38 million in usage fee revenues will materialize to close a $28 million deficit in the county’s sewer district. Aimed only at nonprofit property owners, the sewage fee is really a tax and ought to be discarded as unconstitutional and destructive.—Rick Cohen