(The following was a letter to the editor, which was published in The Kansas City Star on February 15, 2008. It was written in response to a Star editorial addressing the need for massive improvements to the sewer system in Kansas City, Missouri.)
A Star editorial (2/10, "Don't burden customers when constructing sewer proposal") says Kansas City should not "burden customers" by passing on the expense of improvements to the sewer system needed "to prevent storm-water from entering sewage lines during heavy rains" leading to pollution of waterways.
Instead the Star calls for city officials to "lobby for federal funds" or increase the sales tax. I disagree.
Much needed momentum is building to curb "earmarks." This is what earmarks looks like from the local point of view. People across America should not be forced to pay for local projects. Shoppers in Kansas City shouldn’t be expected to chip in either. People who use the sewer system should pay for the improvements.
To minimize rate increases the city should make sure "city officials have slimmed down" this "incredibly ambitious" proposal (as your editorial writer puts it) where possible, then pay for it by issuing tax-exempt bonds to be paid off over the life of the improved system.