Friday, February 17, 2006

Punishing the Innocent

Years ago a friend of mine gave me a plaque with the “Six Phases of a Project”:

  1. Enthusiasm
  2. Disillusionment
  3. Panic
  4. Search for the Guilty
  5. Punishment of the Innocent, and
  6. Praise and Honors for Non-Participants.

But “Punishing the Innocent” is so pervasive it's not really funny.

Take the State’s Local Option Prepared Food Tax for instance. It was shaped by the General Assembly working with the N.C. Restaurant Association. Like the room occupancy tax, it was very well-thought through.

Then a few of the first counties to be approved for a Local Option Prepared Food Tax began to fudge on the rules. So the General Assembly pulls back and essentially puts a moratorium on additional approvals, and the Restaurant Association rescinds support under any conditions, even the 10 previously agreed upon.

So who gets punished and learns a lesson? Not the local governments that messed with the system…but all of those counties who hadn’t even been given an opportunity.

This isn’t the only example of this happening or even the worst. But it happens more often than we think, and it's unfair.

No comments: