Las Vegas is going through a rather ironic trend of receiving massive amounts of California transplants fleeing high housing costs, heavy taxes, and out-of-control homeless problems. They then vote for politicians in Nevada who enact the same policies. While they have pursued the same failed solutions to housing policies, their most recent action is a textbook case of how to turn Las Vegas into a high tax but dirty homeless sanctuary like San Francisco.
The behavior in question regards a five percent increase in the trash collection fee. Although this sounds innocuous it actually reveals several more important factors. First, every fee increase is rather small on purpose. Taking everything in one giant “big government” tax would inspire revolt. But take an extra half percent in sales tax here, add a minor increase in the gas tax, increase service fees, fail to retire a sun-setting business tax, and then add 5 percent for garbage…and you start to reach the big government tax without inspiring the outrage.
Philosophically the garbage tax stinks. It accepts the problem of littering from the homeless as natural and acceptable which is a dangerous trend in urban areas. When I commented on social media that the city should raise money by enforcing the law, people were outraged that I would expect the homeless and jobless to pay fines or go to jail. But I was stupefied that so many people accept littering as completely normal from certain groups as, well, normal and acceptable. Denver tried to decriminalize public urination, Portland police officers often don’t investigate serious crimes in recently legalized homeless camps, and San Francisco does little to stop open drug use. All of these incidents end up worsening the quality of life and raising the taxes of hard-working citizens to clean up the mess of the homeless.
Finally, this shows the liberal tendency to solve every problem by taxing and spending. There could be better solutions such as a zero tolerance policy for littering, assigning a task force of police officers to issue fines, or discontinuing the monopoly the trash company has in order to get more and better service for less money.
But when the government spends other people’s money it becomes much easier for them to simply throw money at the problem to support their bankrupt philosophy that excuses the failure of the homeless to follow basic standards of conduct. With this behavior it will not shock me to find that Las Vegas joins other incompetent liberal cities like Portland and San Francisco.