Friday, December 09, 2005

My Third poll is up, What are your priorities for the next Indiana Legislative session?

Please take the time to vote in this poll. The poll will close in one week (Dec 16th). Each person can only vote in this poll one time. You may vote for as many of the 15 items as you wish!

I am not sure that I like how this poll is setup. It is yet another experiment...

Please feel free to post links to this poll, invite your friends and family to vote, and comment on this poll. I am really curious as to what the priorities of those people who read my blog are for this next session.


IT-Chick said...

Hi. You were on the roll, but I put you on again and listed it as FW and Allen Co. now... Maybe that'll generate something.

Robert Enders said...

Mike, is it possible to detect if anyone is giving conflicting answers?

I feel that NIPSCO is a private organization, that it should be allowed to set its own rates and do whatever it wants to do with the money.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

No it is not possible.

I think you MAy be mis-understanding what NIPSCO is doing my friend.

What NIPSCO has done is to get permission from the State of Indiana to tack an additional tax on EVERY paying consumer in Indiana. This tax is then used by NIPSCO to subsidize the natural gas they sell to low income people...

You cannot be in foavor of that?

Robert Enders said...

You phrased the original question as whether or not NIPSCO should be allowed to raise prices. A tax is money collected by the government. This is about a price increase, not a tax.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

This has gotten a HUGE amount of press. I kind of figured everyone would know what they are doing.

They are specifically charging EVERYONE so they can subsidize a few. That is NOT the job of business...

Robert Enders said...

I can see how it might be objectionable, since everyone in the the state relies on gas for heating. The fact is, most companies do donate part of their profits to charities. That most is built into the price that they charge for their goods and services. Part of what you pay to have Windows on your computer goes to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and part of it goes to subsidize those $5 software cds that they let college students buy. Companies justify this to the stock holders by saying that it is for PR purposes. As a utility provider, NIPSCO is in an unenvible position. On one side, regulators pressure them to keep gas prices low. On the other side, they are under pressure to provide gas to people who either can't or won't pay their gas bill. You might notice that they have to ask the state for permission to raise prices, but Wal-Mart would not need permission to raise the price of towels so to donate the proceeds to charity.

The real crime is that NIPSCO would feel compelled to do this. In some Midwestern states, gas companies cannot shut off a customer's gas during winter months. That would really cause your gas bill to skyrocket. What NIPSCO is doing is fending off liberals who would advocate such a law.

Perhaps NIPSCO could experiment with having a little box to check off on gas bills so that people could voluntarily donate towards a fund that provides winter heat for those who cannot afford it.

Mike Kole said...

As with any poll, there are quirks and problems. For instance, I only voted for three items because it was asked as 'what should be a legislative priority'. Some things I think should happen rank pretty low as a priority to me, and I can live with it not happening in the upcoming session.

I do like that you are experimenting with these things. Very cool!

GadFlier said...

NIPSCO is essentially an arm of government. They have a monopoly. The government gives them exclusive power to operate within their region. Try to set up a company in direct competition with them--it would be illegal. Since they are operating as a monopoly, fully authorized by government to do so, whatever they collect above the necessary amounts for operation amounts to a tax.

Robert Enders said...

Good point Gadfly. If the state mandated monopoly were not in place, and a "natural" monopoly were in place, would it be ok? There are alternative ways of heating a home.

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