I have a brilliant new business idea I would like share. As Free Racine readers may know, I own a retail business. On any given day, I probably have ten or so folks enter my store for the very first time. From now on I am going to charge them $500 each just to step into my store. That's $5,000 every day from now on. I can retire in a few years.
I can almost hear you skeptics out there. Nobody is going to pay the money, you say. I won't get any new customers and I will lose business, you say.
No worries. Let's suppose you are right. I have a Plan B. I will raise prices on existing customers by 50%. Problem solved!
OK, I have a confession to make. I have stolen this brilliant idea from the Racine Water Department.
A few years back, I rehabbed a commercial building and built two apartments above my retail store. In order to become a customer of the Racine Water Department I had to pay about $2,500 per unit for the water hook-up. Full disclosure: I had the total fee reduced to $2,500 because of previous water use in my building - should have been reduced to $0 but wasn't. Anyway, Racine didn't actually hook up anything - my plumber did at my expense. The $2,500 was a penalty for being an entrepreneur in Racine. But I had it easy. I later learned that new businesses that used significant quantities of water were subject to a prohibitive introductory water use penalty. Perhaps you heard of the laundromat that didn't open because of the fees or the car wash that didn't open because of the fees. How many businesses didn't open because of the Water Department business model? How many jobs have been lost? Who knows? Who cares?
Have you looked at your water bill lately. It is going up. Why? Well, recently I heard Mayor Dickert on the radio mention that we have not been using enough water to keep the water rate steady. So they need to raise the rate.
Only in government can you get away with such a ridiculous business model.