Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bills, Bills and More Bills

Gas prices are at record highs, BGE wins state approval for a 50 percent hike in electricity rates, and the Howard County Council raises the fire tax by 8 percent in our part of the county while rejecting an attempt to cut real estate taxes. The Sun says we'll be paying more in real estate taxes because of rising assessments--about $273 on a $450,000 house.

Oh, and this WaPo survey on gas prices suggests we're willing to pay as much as $4.38 a gallon before we cut back on our driving.

The paper is just full of good news today.

How much is too much in your book?


Hayduke said...

I'm one of those crazy people (economist? euro-wannabe?) who thinks gas prices have been too low for far too long. In addition to market-driven increases, I think we need to add at least $1 per gallon in the form of a carbon tax. For too long, we've failed to pay the true cost of fuel.

It's interesting that at more than $4 people say they will start driving less, but how? Will they make a few big sacrifices (no weekend trips to the beach, for instance), or will the changes be small but more regular (such as, walking/biking to the store). Availability of non-car options, I think, will be the main driver of these behavioral shifts.

Jessie Newburn said...

I'm one of those crazy people who thinks the same thing: gas prices have been too low for far too long. As have energy, water and trash collection.

Here's an idea that's been brewing in the "Wouldn't it be nice ..." section of my brain: It's the annual Job Swap-a-thon, or Job Switcheroo, or whatever.

Here's the scene (this is a bit fanciful, I understand). Every year, everyone in the Baltimore-Washington region who drives more than 20 minutes to work and does not do anything that is so utterly unique to their utterly unique self at an utterly unique job would put their job, ZIP code, salary, etc. into a database. Then people could look for similar jobs close to home and do a switcheroo. So the bookkeeper traveling from Columbia to Rockville, and the bookkeeper traveling from Rockville to Columbia could switch.

I'm very aware that this is over-simplified. Very over-simplified. It's an idea that came to me some 20+ years ago when I commuted every day to DC and back for -- get this -- a pink collar job! Really. As though no comparable job, even at a couple K less per year, were available closer to home.

If nothing else, it could be a half-silly, half-get-real PR campaign that would promote the many benefits of working closer to home.

20+ years later: I'm much wiser. I commute across the house to my computer. Oh, and I'm much happier.

PS - In years past, I've written 1,000+ resumes. And though everyone is unique in their own very special way, skills can be pretty transferable, across companies, industries and professions. I know, first hand. Think about it.