Friday, August 25, 2006

Return of the Mob Tax

In today's Crain's In$ider the newsletter reports on the effort by the carting industry to raise disposal fees. It says that the carters "...are making incremental progress toward getting the cap raised." In addition, the city has hired a consultant to determine what the impact a raise would have-presumably on the hapless businesses that have already experienced a doubling or even tripling of their disposal costs.

Our old friend David Biderman is at it again. This time, in his lobbying brief for his carting clients, he claims that 15% of carters have gone out of business in the past year and a half. If that's true than we need to look closely at all of the relevant variables. What we know for certain is that the rising carting fees have really hurt those retailers that generate "wet" food waste.

Which is why the Alliance has been strongly promoting food waste disposers, devices that would allow retailers to process organic garbage through the city's waste water treatment facilities. If this were to come to pass than we'd have no problem with the carters raising rates, since the most expensive garbage would be diverted. We wonder how Biderman feels about this possibility?

One thing does concern us in this whole discussion. Where are the council members who believe that helping businesses to save money is a legitimate goal of public policy? It appears to us that there is no one in either the council or the administration who places this concern in the forefront of the public discussion of food waste disposers. Perhaps the administration's consultant on carting cost increases will look at this.

Our conclusion is that the City Council should proceed with the passage of Intro 133 as part of a pilot study of what kind of positive solid waste and business impact the introduction of commercial food waste disposers will have on the city's retailers. It's not all about the waste water treatment plants and this discussion should be expanded.