First it was about safety they said. Then it was to create “intrinsic value to a surrounding neighborhood, improving quality of life and property values,” they said.
But RIP – the Rental Inspection Program in Lakewood as it was originally billed by RIP architects who later changed it to Rental Housing Safety Program (RHSP) so as to insert the ever-popular ‘safety’ catch-all (who isn’t for safety, or for that matter pumpkin pie – Happy Thanksgiving by the way) – is in fact another tax, literally, via the back rental door.
With RIP we’re giving the city the keys.
With a swipe at those who mindlessly parrot that such government encroachment is simply “the cost of doing business” shrugging off yet another “small fee”, and apologies to Dr. Seuss:
A tax is a tax no matter how small.
Speaking of which, take the big City of Seattle as an example of the creeping scourge of incrementalism.
Freshman city council member Lisa Herbold, perhaps emboldened by recent forays into the rental housing field, is “proposing a tiered fee tacked to business size by employee (the bigger a company, the more it pays),” reports Shift Washington this November 16, 2016.
Just another small fee? Just the price of doing business?
Herbold you may remember, given she was referenced in these series of articles now numbering – with this one – 47, yes you read that right, forty-seven, dedicated to this subject, was infamously quoted as advocating “for doubling down on tenant protections and repealing the Washington State ban on rent control.”
Such an audacious, bold claim by Herbold began, ironically enough, with rental inspection.
Seattle, and it’s city council, one of a handful of other cities after whom Lakewood has patterned it’s RHSP, just this past June 6th was unanimous in taking the next small (there’s that word again) step down the road of so-called “tenant protections” in “forbidding landlords from raising rents until they bring their properties up to standards.”
Speaking of small, what next small step (apologies too Neil Armstrong) for mankind does Seattle have in mind? “A bill to cap move-in costs,” Councilmember Kshama Sawant promised.
Now Herbold wants a three-layered (and we’re not talking cake here) tax, the icing for which is bigger government by virtue (poor choice of words there) of burdensome regulation, if not strangulation.
Hey, says Herbold of the proposed tax hike, it’s for “community organizations.”
Gag. Want another helping of pumpkin pie?
As in Seattle, whose lead (downhill slope) Lakewood admits following in this rental ‘safety’ program – what with Lakewood’s 69 boxes to check on seven pages of rental inspection reports – “the city council has decided to layer regulation upon regulation onto the city’s businesses, now extract(ing) money from those businesses to pay for the privilege” of doing business in the city.
“Gouging is the new normal,” said Chris Matyszczyk writing this November 15, 2016 for Inc.com. Matyszczyk was referencing “United Airlines’ latest nickel-and-diming trick” in which, upon boarding, “United will allow you a personal item. You know, a laptop. Or a comb.” Anything else and there’ll be ‘a small fee.’
“Gouging” is perhaps not the best use of terms however, as “price gouging suggests a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair, and is considered exploitative, potentially to an unethical extent.”
Government doesn’t gouge. Rather government gradually, frog-in-a-kettle-like, death-of-a-thousand-cuts-like – “none of which are fatal in themselves, but which add up to a slow and painful demise” – squeezes, to mix metaphors, every last bit of blood from the turnip.
“Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary,” i.e. Lakewood’s Rental Inspection (safety, whatever) program, “is legalized robbery,” said Calvin Coolidge.
Does the key to the city actually open anything?
Yep. Your back door.