Monday, April 13, 2009

Taxes and Fees. oh my!

Aside from raising taxes while accepting stimulus funds, cities around the country now want to tag citizens with an array of "fees." If you accidentally smack your car into a pole and police and firefighters show up, expect to receive a bill from the city.


Len said...

I thought one of the main principles of modern conservatism is that every person is responsible for his or her own actions. Why should that responsibility end when you run your car into a tree?

VH said...

The principle of responsibility for ones own actions--and therefore having to bear the cost solely associated with bad decisions or risky behavior--has been supplanted in our society by the liberal idea that if you pay taxes to a powerful state bureaucracy and a fire breaks out in your home due to your negligence (or not), union firefighters employed by the city or state will come and put the fire out; that's why a citizen pays taxes we are led to believe--for efficiency of services provided (garbage collection, police enforcement, etc) by the state. You can be as negligent as you want with your property (smoking in bed, lighting off fireworks, etc) and you can be sure that the public services have your back because you pay your taxes. But now we have cities and states that, aside from happily taking stimulus funds to "close the budget gap" while INCREASING their budgets, want to hit the taxpayer a second time when they are in need of help and call for a public service. Now that's what I call highway robbery and a renege on the social contract that taxes are meant to uphold.

Harrison said...

I read this story too the other day. People don't pay attention to the fine print in their bills so they don't organize and protest. It is another form of raising taxes.

I like that the term "blowback" was used in reference to taxpayers... nice CIA term now used to describe us!

Len said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Len said...

I'm sorry, VH, but your argument doesn't hold water. Where is the difference between someone lighting their house on fire and someone running their car into a tree? You assume that the person in the house was smoking in bed, so I guess I'm as free to assume that the person in the car was drunk as a skunk (or yakking on a cell phone). If we the taxpayers are to be responsible for the latter, why not the former?

VH said...

The difference is immaterial in a society that collects taxes to provide for the "common good." If we are told that by paying taxes--collectively putting funds into a government pool--we are promised a certain level of service that benefits the entire community, why then when a tax paying citizen calls upon a public service, that citizen has to pay an additional fee? Why?

However, having said that, if you want to go the personal responsibility route, I'm completely fine with that. I shouldn't have to pay for somebody else's bad decisions and that includes paying taxes for services I don't want or need. I have been paying taxes for years to recruit, equip, and train police officers. Yet, I have rarely needed to use their service while denizens in other parts of town tend to rely on police service far more than I do--in a sense, they are getting more service for what they pay in taxes than I am because I never need the service; They are overusing the service while I'm stuck footing their bill. Shouldn't they get a bill for calling the police when they get held up?

Let's be honest, the only reason municipalities are doing this is because they are short public funds (even after accepting millions of funds from the federal stimulus package) and not because of a new found sense of mandating personal responsibility. Local and state politicians are hesitant to raise taxes to cover some public services because they know that the American public is already feeling uneasy about all the spending that's been going on in Washington and the weak economy. So, in a lame attempt to make ends meet and to avoid a public outcry, they send you a bill if you dial 911.