Posts tagged ‘TVA’

Privatizing the TVA -- I'm Doing My Part

Several sources have reported that the new Obama budget calls for privatizing the TVA.  My company is already doing our part -- we have privately taken over the operation of four TVA campgrounds (under a long-term lease) and are looking at others.  Our first was here, and has turned out to be a really good operation for us.  It is impossible to get bank loans for improvements on leased land, but over time, by applying cash flow from the operation back into improvements, we have put nearly a million dollars in to the property.  We took on three new TVA campgrounds this winter and are just now scrambling to get them open.

Trying to Start a Business in Tennessee

As I wrote previously, I am entering business in Tennessee, trying to reopen some closed TVA campgrounds.  I was initially pissed off that Tennessee is one of the few states that double taxes S-corp earnings.  I expect this kind of BS in California, but I keep finding more Tennessee taxes I have to pay.  Here is what I have so far:

  • Pay annual Secretary of State registration fee (Fixed $)
  • Must collect state sales tax (% of revenue)
  • Must collect county sales tax (% of revenue)
  • Must collect a county lodging tax (% of lodging revenue)
  • Pay state Franchise tax (% of net worth)
  • Pay state Excise tax (% of corporate earnings, even for S-corp)
  • Pay something called a county business tax (% of revenues)
  • Pay annual registration fee for county business tax (fixed $)
  • Withhold employee state income taxes (% of wages)
  • Pay state unemployment taxes (% of wages)
  • Pay state individual income tax (% of pass-through corporate earnings)
  • Pay county property tax (% of assessed asset value)

I am sure I am missing a few.  Except for #2 and #3 which are collected together, every single one of these requires a separate registration and separate monthly or annual filing.

When Consumer Regulation is Anti-Consumer

Frequently, so-called consumer regulation is coopted by large corporations to limit the ways competitors can try to unseat them.  For example, limo services will get laws passed that all limos have to have certain features.  Ostensibly, this is so consumers will be protected from having a limo without a wet bar, or whatever, but in fact its to prevent upstart competitors from taking them on with a different kind of business model potentially using different kinds of vehicles.

I find that this is frequently the case with regulated utilities.  Utilities are able to get all kinds of crazy laws passed to protect business practices that would never survive the marketplace.  Just today I was trying to open a business account with Duck River Electric in Tennessee.  We are attempting to reopen a TVA campground that has been closed for several years.  The campground is tiny, so I was flabberghasted when the utility told me that we had to put down a permanent deposit of $4100.  I found this to be shockingly high.  Apparently, it is based on the highest two months demand in the highest year (several years ago) in history.  Since the campground is only open for five months, it means that we have to give the utility an indefinite interest free loan equal to half the annual business we do with them.

This is simply insane.  Name one reasonably competitive business where one has to put down anywhere near this kind of advanced deposit to become a regular customer.  If there was any sort of competition in this business, the sales people for the other company would have a field day with this.  Sure, vendors often do a credit check on us, and a very few times (mostly early in our history) we had to pay COD for orders.  But this is absurd.

PS-  The only vendors we work with that are even close to this for abusiveness are the state authorities from whom we buy fishing licenses for resale.  Many of these agencies require expensive payment bonds not required by any of our other (private) vendors.  Arizona Game and Fish even forces us in January to accept an inventory of many products we do not sell (e.g. hunting stamps) and cannot sell by the terms of our lease.  We have to keep these in the safe for a year and if we lose any and are unable to return them at the end of the year, we have to pay for them.  Imagine Amazon.com sent you a bunch of crap you did not want and required you to hold them for a year, and then pay the expenses of returning them, and then pay for any item you might have lost.   Anyone like myself who was dumb enough to fall into the Columbia House records thing will know the danger of this.