I just wanted to record a fact I noticed about a recent trip to Mammoth Mountain in California. It is one of our most popular ski resorts. I noticed on my folio that I had six charges beyond my room charge for each night I stayed there. The charges were as follows; a Resort Fee, a Civic Fee, an Occupancy Tax, a Tourism Assessment, a Tourism Assessment #2 and an MMCF Donation – whatever the hell that is. If they labeled these additional charges correctly, my folio should have looked like this instead; a Tax, a Tax, a Tax, a Tax, a Tax #2, and a Donation. I stayed there for three nights, so I had 18 additional charges on top of my room rate for a total of $239.88 just in taxes. And that doesn’t include whatever laundry list of other hidden local taxes I paid for that are buried in the costs of everything I bought from all the local businesses including my hotel’s daily room rate, my dinner, my gasoline, my lift ride, my souvenirs and my beer.
All those local businesses pay local taxes which are part of the price they charge me for their products and services. I would not be surprised of I paid $300 or more in total taxes to the Government of Mammoth Lakes, CA for the sheer privilege of just showing up in their city. How dare I just appear unannounced and try to spend money into their local economy! $300 bucks, that’ll teach me to ever make that mistake again.
Especially egregious is the $1 MMCF Donation which, according to the website for the Mammoth Mountain Community Foundation is an “optional” donation which is spent mostly on education for the local children – but isn’t that what property taxes are for? …and if it’s optional, how come nobody asked me if I wanted to pay it before charging me for it?
I already have to pay 30 years of property taxes, or about $225,000, so my ONE child can go to school for 12 years, at a cost of $18,750 per year. So why do I also have to pay for OTHER people’s kids to go to school too? Shouldn’t somebody like….oh…I don’t know…their own parents be paying for that!
This is what happens when you let politicians get out of control, which is to say what happens 100% of the time if you don’t do anything to reign them in. Politicians are like dogs that keep pissing on the carpet. You have to “manage” them correctly, kick ’em occasionally, spray water in their face, give’ em a treat, pat their head. They want to stay in office, so when they completely mismanage the city into the ground, they get scared to raise taxes on their own voters to fix it for fear of reprisal at the voting booth, so choose instead to soak vacationing tourists for every penny they have by passing laws to install hidden taxes on their tourism infrastructure. Maybe this was due to their bankruptcy filing in 2012? I also wouldn’t be surprised if their Government employee pension benefits weren’t also severely underfunded and declaring bankruptcy based on a debt with a developer was a Godsend for the politicians to avoid a showdown on their pension reform problems. Who knows? If they pissed on the carpet by mismanaging debt with a developer, we shouldn’t be surprised to find other pee stains.
But again, one more poorly managed city after another after another. Reminds me of that quote, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors” which is like that other not-so-famous quote, “If you don’t kick the dog routinely, it keeps pissing on the carpet.” Most Governments are run by people you wouldn’t trust to wash your car, but then we wonder why they are all broke and mismanaged debt holes of tax hell.