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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Fee at last

One argument used by opponents of putting the property tax caps into the state constitution is that stupid Hoosier voters will be unhappy when they realize what they actually asked for, i.e., they will suddenly stop getting services they want and need that property taxes once upon a time paid for. Then I suppose they will fall down on their knees and admit their shortsightedness while begging their kind and wise public servants to please, please, please raise their taxes again.

I can see another scenario, though. When the future of local government gets here, any minute now, Hoosiers will be paying so many "fees" for things that were once paid for out of tax receipts that they will realize how much government they really have and start agitating to trim it down to something reasonable even harder than they do now:

Lake County officials are weighing fee hikes for everything from building permits to adopting a kitten.

A report from consulting firm Maximus estimates the county could raise an additional $1.7 million from fees to defray the cost of county services like testing scales at grocery stores and gas pumps to conducting health inspections.

[. . .]

The Maximus study estimates the county spends $4.9 million on services that could generate fees, but collects only $2.6 million for those services.

I would argue that the county should be paying more attention to police services and fire protection and less to regulating kitten adoptions and testing grocery store sales, but that would probably mark me as a libertarian caveman who scoffs at communitarian values.

Well, scoff.


Andy Tyler
Tue, 01/19/2010 - 2:26am

Are you proposing fire and police protection for a fee? If the taxes are gone, the money has to come from somewhere. until someone figures out how to sell police and fire protection, I guess we'll be stuck charging fees for things we can actually sell, and then divert the profits into more important services.