Government Increasingly Using Stealth Taxes and Fines for Funding

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]

Dissident Veteran for Peace reacts to news of the NWTRCC debate over the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act:

I haven’t written about the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund in more than two-and-a-half years now. The proposal is an extremely flawed effort that should be opposed by all people of conscience. As I summed up in , “…if you want to send more money to the war machine, split the war tax resistance movement, and help set up a feel good shell game then the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund bill (HR 2631) is for you.” So, I was happy to read in the issue of More Than a Paycheck that the Coordinating Committee of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee did not renew its previous endorsement of the National Campaign for a Peace Tax Fund.

And, oh yeah, ho hum, but much of that taxpayer money being spent in Iraq and Afghanistan is being spent stupidly.

That article highlights in particular a $30 million dining facility at a U.S. base in Iraq that the U.S. has promised to abandon within a couple of years. It was supposed to replace a more run-down facility that, nonetheless, was completely renovated for $3.36 million and is now perfectly fine. Having discovered this $30 million waste, nobody is doing anything about it, since the project is too far along and the contractors will get paid at this point whether or not they build it.

Maybe that’s where your taxes went. Who knows? Wouldn’t it be nice if they’d inscribe your name in a plaque in the lobby?