Wendy McElroy reports that as receipts from income taxes, property taxes, business taxes, and sales taxes plummet during this recession, governments are boosting some stealth taxes in order to get their hands on more of our loot.
Among these: fines, fees, fares, tickets, tolls, tuition, and access charges. Everything is going up, a little here and a little there. And it adds up. McElroy notes the following news story:
An example… On his website Texas Senator Eliot Shaleigh writes, “A couple of weeks ago, the local paper printed names of El Pasoans with outstanding arrest warrants. 78,000 El Pasoans made the paper! What’s going on here? Here are the facts. Of the 78,000 almost all are for moving violations. In fact, most are violations of the Texas Driver Responsibility Act of . Here’s a breakdown by category of violation… When we compared Austin, same story: 11% of Austin has outstanding arrest warrants. How did that happen?… For the first time, fees, tickets and tuition paid for sizable chunk of the Texas budget. Under the bill, fees escalate dramatically. Theoretically, after three tickets, a driver can owe $3,000 and more, depending on the offense. And if you can’t pay, you go to jail. And that is exactly what happened. Nearly one in ten Texans can’t pay: students, single mothers, working families, essentially low and even middle income Texans whose income can’t keep up with gas, insurance, taxes and tickets too.”
According to Car and Driver, “The metropolitan Detroit area, which has been reeling economically much longer than has the rest of the country. The number of moving violations issued has increased by at least 50 percent in 18 communities in the metro area since — and 11 of those municipalities have seen ticketing increases of 90 percent or more.” [Hat tip to Mike "Mish" Shedlock]