Saturday, April 11, 2009

Taxes Aren't Enough

Americans, after having made their disdain for taxation plain during the Boston Tea Party, have come to terms with the overall necessity for the levies imposed by governments on all levels. We are all aware that the lifestyles we lead must be administered and that our taxes make that possible. We take for granted, therefore, that when we have the occasional fender-bender the police or fire departments will be there to pull us from a wrecked vehicle or to provide transport to a hospital if need be. It is the societal structure for which we pay taxes, and we all understand that relationship.

Likewise, we simply expect the streets to be illuminated and the trash collected. That expectation is not selfish by any stretch of the imagination simply because, as consumers, we pay for it. We have the right to expect basic services for which we pay, often exorbitantly as it is.

Now, however, cities across the country are turning to a fee-based system. Unable to control the spending of budgets bestowed upon them by virtue of the tax paying citizenry, and rather than raise taxes even more - which would cause a revolt - they are going to start charging individuals for services for which they have already payed! You want the street lights on? Send a check to city hall. Need emergency assistance? The invoice will be in the mail. How long before tuition is required at public schools?

MSNBC has posted a New York Times article titled, Cities, states turn to fees to fill budget gaps. The title says it all, but the first paragraph does even better:

After her sport utility vehicle sideswiped a van in early February, Shirley Kimel was amazed at how quickly a handful of police officers and firefighters in Winter Haven, Fla., showed up. But a real shock came a week later, when a letter arrived from the city billing her $316 for the cost of responding to the accident.
Perhaps Big Brother can install special, coin-operated meters inside every citizen's doorway. In order to venture out into the big, bad world, it will cost you so many coins to do so. Or try to imagine spending a few hundred dollars at the grocery store and then being informed that there is a fifty dollar fee for the removal of the goods from the premises.

There are some who have already begun the scoffing at the planned Tea Parties around the country. Let's see them laugh when they get the bill for police protection of their counter-protests.

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