Can an old dog learn new tricks? In the case of business rates, I don't think so.
This week Sir Michael Lyons's Inquiry into Local Government Finance produced an interim report which, for the moment, dodged the prospect of greater local discretion over the setting of business rates.
Sir Michael says he will deal with that in his final report due to be submitted to t he Government in December.
But it looks as if he is likely to recommend another shake-up.
He seems to believe that greater local choice, not more central control, would be good for both democracy and prosperity.
The trouble is, whatever Sir Michael's attempts to dress it up, business can all too well remember the bad old days.
Yesterday it was the turn of small firms to voice their protest.
The Forum of Private Business is concerned that any changes could leave SMEs footing the bill for local authorities who don't have to a nswer to them. Real accountability had to be high on the agenda, it argued.
FPB spokesman Tim Kind noted: "The way some local authorities are administered does not breed confidence that small business won't be picking up the tab for inefficiencies."
And big business is equally sceptical.
CBI director-general, the Midlands own Sir Digby Jones, said: "Business will strongly support a reform of local government that cuts excessive national targets and makes councils more responsive to local needs. But that support does not extend to the return of business rates to local control.
"Our concern is that councillors, faced with a choice between upping business tax or raising individual council taxes with all the electoral implications that brings, will view business as a soft target. Past experience is not encouraging.
"Business can't afford a double whammy when it has already borne the brunt of tax increases at a national level.
"Sir Michael must also be mindful of the instability that relocalisation of business rates would bring. Companies increasingly have a choice of where they locate their work-force. Where local business rates rise significantly, firms may well up sticks and relocate to another area or even another country. Those that can't easily relocate might have to lose jobs - or at worst cut their losses and close."
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry has offered a cautious welcome.
Charlotte Ritchie, policy executive, said: "We are positive about these proposals although we understand concerns about above inflation increases year on year.
"We feel there is excessive central government control o ver spending, and by returning it to local govern-ment councils will become incentivised to provide a better services community more effectively."
And pigs might fly.
I think the chamber are mugs - after business fought so long and hard to get the system taken out of the hands of spendthrift councils it would be madness to hand it back to them.
Once bitten, twice shy.