It is census time again and I thought a little ranting was in order. What a crock! On the good side, at least this one was short and nowhere near as invasive as the last one was. The last one was incredibly personal with far too much info being gathered, info that is quite public whether they put our names on it or not. After playing with GIS (Geographic Information System), I could see how that info is provided to anyone and used quite a bit in business to decide what to sell, where to sell it, who to sell it to, how much crap people will take, etc.
On the downside, lots of people are still not being counted or in the case of RVers, are being counted in the wrong place. Remember, the census is used by the government to make decisions about our lives, to apportion funds to the states, and to set the number of representatives allowed for each state. This is important stuff! Yet, the government sets rules for it that make it difficult to count homeless, migrants, and RVers. The census is sent to home mailboxes not mailing services such as full-time RVers use and they hope to catch the rest of us by having census workers walk around various places or by having us walk in somewhere if we know where and are nearby. No one came walking around the RV park I was in this winter. I heard the Escapees club mailing service had made arrangements to get the census out to their full-time members but at the last minute the government changed their minds and decided not to allow it. Instead, only members who happened to be in the area were able to walk in to a nearby office to fill one out. I did get to fill one out but it was in the state I was in at the time rather than the state that is my legal residence. States need to recognize their RVing constituents and petition for a better accounting of them in the census so they get what they should have.
More nonsense came my way just before I left Utah. A local government representative came in the RV park I was staying at and found a couple rigs there with expired tags. She smelled tax money and went wild. Rather than walk around the park to check tags which is part of her job, she walked around and slapped scary tax man forms on every RV door stating we had to fill them out or face being taxed by a state we weren’t residents of. Now full-time RVers usually live on fixed incomes, plan their taxes very carefully, and move around a lot. They stay in one place for the winter usually then move on again. Florida has no problem with that and encourages us to winter there since we generate a lot of revenue for them in purchases, sales taxes, toll roads, camping fees, etc. The idea of being taxed just for visiting a state set off a great anger and panic in the park. But she didn’t stop there. She went to the park managers with a stack of forms and ordered them to give one to every RV that pulls in to stay the night. Can you imagine how fast that would kill off their business?! I would not stay at any park that handed me such a form as I pulled in and neither would most others. I also find it amazing she had time to do the walking around but no time to check our license plates. WAKE UP, UTAH! You just lost a bunch of business. Several folks pulled out right after that and many others will not go there now.