This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 19, 2006 3:01 PM. The previous post in this blog was Making it cushy. The next post in this blog is Sad news gets sadder. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Your Tuesday afternoon coffee break reads

The Monday night haul of the recycling bin to the curb always provokes some interesting browsing of the print media. Three stories caught our eye as we shipped off another week's pile of newsprint last evening.

First, in The New York Times, a stunning front-page story about the unearthing and restoration of a public swimming pool in Mississippi that the town buried decades ago, rather than go through racially integrating it as the law requires. This kind of tale makes history come alive.

Also in the Times, guess who's sticking up for the college board exams, a.k.a. the SAT's? Surprise! It's the president of Reed College, who deplores the fact that many colleges are allowing applicants not to submit their SAT scores if they don't want to. The not-so-hidden agenda is to jack up the schools' average SAT statistics and thus move them up in the ridiculous U.S. News & World Report rankings game. Reed refuses to play that game at all.

Meanwhile, back in the O, we see that the state Public Utility Commission has issued rules implementing the new state law that public utilities' parent companies actually have to pay some taxes if their utility subsidiaries expect to collect taxes from customers as part of their utility rates. Under the new rules, the Oregon utilities can pass on to their customers a percentage of the taxes that their parent companies actually pay, but no more. And so if an Enron avoids paying taxes with one dodge or another, the little old ladies in McMinnville won't have to pay a PGE a phantom tax recovery as part of their power bills.

The utilities are screaming bloody murder, but it's an eminently sensible set of rules, and they ought to quiet down and just deal with them. I'm sure they and their accountants are already dissecting the new regulations and trying to figure out ways to game them. It shouldn't take them more than a few years to do so, but in the meantime, fairness temporarily prevails.

It would be interesting to hear where Ron Saxton, the Republican who wants to be our "governer," stands on the new utility tax rate rules. I'd be surprised if you could get a straight answer out of him about it.

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