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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-11-2009, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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Creative applications of extortion

story

Cities, states turn to fees to fill budget gaps 'Streetlight user fees' among the new charges as governments get creative

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.

“I remember thinking, ‘What the heck is this?’ ” says Ms. Kimel, 67, an office manager at a furniture store. “I always thought this sort of thing was covered by my taxes.”

It used to be. But last July, Winter Haven became one of a few dozen cities in the country to start charging “accident response fees.” The idea is to shift the expense of tending to and cleaning up crashes directly to at-fault drivers. Either they, or their insurers, are expected to pay.

Washington’s mayor, Adrian M. Fenty, has proposed a “streetlight user fee” of $4.25 a month, to be added to electric bills, that would cover the cost of operating and maintaining the city’s streetlights. New York City recently expanded its anti-idling law to include anyone parked near a school who leaves the engine running for more than a minute. Doing that will cost you $100.

“The most dangerous places on Staten Island are the schools at drop-off and dismissal time, when parents are parked three deep in the road,” says James S. Oddo, a City Council member from Staten Island who voted for the measure. “There is a mentality here that Johnny can’t walk 100 feet, he has to be dropped off right at the front of the school — and frankly that’s why Johnny is as pudgy as he is.”

If past patterns hold, the new wave of fees is just getting started. Gary Wagner, a professor of economics at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, was one author of a study of moving-vehicle and parking tickets in North Carolina, covering a 14-year period. He found a strong correlation between a dip in government revenue and a rise in ticket-writing by the police.

“But there’s a lag time,” Mr. Wagner said. “Typically, it’s about a year after the revenues drop that the police start writing more tickets.”

If you date the start of the downturn to last September, the ticket-writing is just getting under way. And New Yorkers can expect more days like the one in mid-March, when the police wrote 9,016 driving-while-phoning tickets within 24 hours, roughly 20 times the usual number.

The “accident response fee” idea could spread, too. A company in Dayton, Ohio, called the Cost Recovery Corporation specializes in setting up collection systems for municipalities that bill for police and fire responses. (The company keeps 10 percent of billings.) Inquiries have tripled in the last year, says the company’s president, Regina Moore.

“What we’re hearing from towns is, ‘The taxpayers are all over us; they don’t want to surrender more tax money,’ ” she said. “And response fees are basically a form of restitution, like paying for a stay in jail.”


Anyone else think that government in general, local and everywhere else, is completely out of control?

And lol at the board coppers saying "Dammit Mike!" after they read the cop part...
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 04:18 AM
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horse shit,how much crap are americans going to take before they unite and start to stop goverment from raping us.i cant beleive "everyone" isn't sick to death of this kinda shit.these motherfuckers have all forgotten exactly who they work for.they need to get a damn clue before our rights are completely stripped.

RON PAUL '08
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 09:41 AM
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Charging an accident fee to the person that caused the accident if the police show up is fine with me.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 10:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by TexasDevilDog View Post
Charging an accident fee to the person that caused the accident if the police show up is fine with me.

Unless they're an illegal with no insurance or valid DL. Then what?

Go ahead and charge the victims insurance, as they have to get paid!



Sad that you have to pay for the popo to show up. Hell, if you're in an accident right now good luck on getting a uniform to show up...
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Fox466 View Post
Unless they're an illegal with no insurance or valid DL. Then what?

Go ahead and charge the victims insurance, as they have to get paid!



Sad that you have to pay for the popo to show up. Hell, if you're in an accident right now good luck on getting a uniform to show up...
Sounds like a scene straight out of this book. Kid gets murdered, so the parents have to pay the government agents to find out who did it.

http://www.amazon.com/Jennifer-Gover...9552236&sr=8-1
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 10:25 AM
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Streetlight user fee? How about Washington drivers deducting a portion of what they pay for gas and bill them for a "headlight usage fee"?
I'd still like to know what the "Federal Universal Service Fund" and "State Universal Service Fund" that adds up to about $7.50 a month on my cell phone are for. It's almost like, "We're charging you this fee, so just shut up and pay for it".
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 10:48 AM
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Clearly the previous targeted taxes (such as the tax on gas for road building and repair) have been redirected into the general budget, and now they need new sources of revenue to cover those expenses (and others). Texas is even guilty of this, and targeted taxes could come our way if the state budget runs low.

Instead of a bunch of ridiculous petty taxes and police tickets i'd much rather have them be straight up about the situation and just say that they are raising this fee and that fee to cover the shortage. Instead, they try to be sneaky about it.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-12-2009, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by mikeb View Post
Clearly the previous targeted taxes (such as the tax on gas for road building and repair) have been redirected into the general budget, and now they need new sources of revenue to cover those expenses (and others). Texas is even guilty of this, and targeted taxes could come our way if the state budget runs low.

Instead of a bunch of ridiculous petty taxes and police tickets i'd much rather have them be straight up about the situation and just say that they are raising this fee and that fee to cover the shortage. Instead, they try to be sneaky about it.
Instead? How about "in addition to"
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 09:42 AM
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Originally Posted by TexasDevilDog View Post
Charging an accident fee to the person that caused the accident if the police show up is fine with me.
I would too, if the amount of money that represented was removed from everyone else's local tax bill. But of course it isn't. The community continues to pay the tax as they always did, the government just gets a new line of revenue in addition. It's bullshit and you of all people should see it.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by TexasDevilDog View Post
Charging an accident fee to the person that caused the accident if the police show up is fine with me.
Great idea. I bet you're ok with the govt charging for oxygen consumption, too.
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post #11 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Fox466 View Post

“The most dangerous places on Staten Island are the schools at drop-off and dismissal time, when parents are parked three deep in the road,” says James S. Oddo, a City Council member from Staten Island who voted for the measure. “There is a mentality here that Johnny can’t walk 100 feet, he has to be dropped off right at the front of the school — and frankly that’s why Johnny is as pudgy as he is.” [/i]
I bet this guy has already gotten sued for calling Johnny fat.
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post #12 of 12 (permalink) Old 04-13-2009, 10:16 AM
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Hilarious. Basically you are now paying for accident response services twice. Kind of like the way the toll roads work around here.
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