By Eric Muench
October 11, 2006
There seem to be several unknowns about application of the Initiative, including questions of constitutionality and/or conflict with federal law, and legal challenges may arise, but these are largely beyond the realm of local decision making.
Just two questions appear to affect our decisions: first whether the city or consolidated municipality could continue to collect the $7 currently scheduled dock passenger fee while also receiving the local $5 share of the State s head tax, and second whether the State legislature will actually appropriate all, some or none of the $5 in any given year.
If the consolidated municipality chooses to give up or is not allowed to collect the $7 fee in addition to recieving the $5 head tax, then net result will be somewhere from a loss of $7 if the State does not come across with an appropriation to a loss of $2 if it does. That choice appears foolish and unlikely to be made.
Therefor if the consolidated municipality keeps the $7 passenger fee and thereby becomes ineligible for the $5 head tax the net result is no change from the presently scheduled income per passenger. And if the municipality keeps the $7 fee and is still eligible for the $5 head tax, the net result will be between a gain of nothing if the State does not come across to a gain of $5 if it does.
However, if the city and borough remain separate and the city keeps the $7 passenger fee, the same total net results happen only if the city remains eligible for its $2.50 share of the locally available $5. But if the city becomes ineligible for its $2.50 share as a result of keeping the $7 fee, then the borough will still receive its $2.50 share of the State s head tax, so long as the State appropriates it.
It boils down to a net financial
reason (worth possibly $2.5 million for one million passengers)
to vote against consolidation.
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