When we talk about fees, let’s be honest

This might be the best approach to solve the trauma problem.

Richardson said motor vehicle accidents account for some 70 percent of trauma injuries so it makes sense to have drivers them bear the burden.

Richardson said the proposal would tack on an extra $10 fee on vehicle tag renewals. It also would slap steep fines on so-called super speeders, those driving more than 85 mph.

Let’s just admit though, that the

29 comments

  1. On an interesting note, since “most super speeders are also the least likely to be able to pay a fine” would these also be the least likely to have insurance? If a major “cost” of trauma is caused by a group unable to support this “cost” why should the rest of us have to shoulder this burden? I have no issue with “punitive” fines for an activity that the rest of are already having to pay for.

  2. Donkey Kong says:

    I am NOT in favor of raising the speeding fines on so-called super speeders in the metro area. In my experience, fast drivers only get in wrecks when slow drivers try to drive in the fast lane. If drivers are responsible and drive the speed of their lane, wrecks would occur much more sparingly. We need autobahns!!

  3. Jace Walden says:

    I don’t understand why these legislators (not to name any names) get so pissed off when we call them out for what they are: Big-government, tax and spend liberals.

    This Richardson administration is full of tax-hiking morons who would better serve the state by making license plates in prison.

  4. Erick says:

    Jace, I’m willing to keep an open mind on the issue. I really think we need to fund trauma care and don’t know where to get the money.

    But I do think we need to be honest about what’s going on. And I also think we need to reconsider the super speeder issue since most research shows those people generally can’t afford to pay.

  5. Doug Deal says:

    Increasing the tag fees to pay for this is okay, but I really have a major problem about funding core programs with things like traffic tickets.

    Few things are more corrrupt than what the government does with traffic courts, particularly in some small towns. If it were up to me, all traffic fines would be sent to fund Indigent Defense as well as victim services, as then it would be funding something related to the crime.

    How long before everything people do is just criminalized and strictly enforced as the needs of the state coffers exceed the needs of justice.

  6. Erick says:

    Well, for starters, did you know that every state senator is alloted 100K in entitlements in every annual budget?

    Didn’t know that. I’d agree, that’s a better start than raising taxes, which I think should absolutely be the very last solution for any problem, especially considering taxes are already too high in this state, making it increasingly less competitive than its neighbors.

  7. Jace Walden says:

    Well, for starters, did you know that every state senator is alloted 100K in entitlements in every annual budget?

    It’s something they don’t explicitly announce, one of those “unspoken” privileges.

  8. Jace Walden says:

    Since we’re talking about fees and being honest, maybe one of the legislators who frequent this blog can help me understand why in a Republican-controlled legislature, the first inclination is always to raise taxes and increase spending.

  9. Jmac says:

    Jace, you’ve obviously never attended the ‘Big Pig Jig’ … arguably one of the more awesome displays of slow-cooked pork around. 🙂

    Seriously though – though we’ll have obvious philosophical disagreements – I’m all for prioritizing spending, but I wouldn’t sell short investments in tourism, which brings back a fairly good return in most cases (the state park golf courses, albeit very, very nice to play at, are a bad example of this).

    Granted, the fishing initiative was kinda foolish since South Carolina has the market cornered on freshwater fishing events in the region, and we’ve got no business going up against Florida or the Gulf Coast for saltwater fishing. It would be like South Carolina trying to market The Heritage Classic as a better event than The Masters.

  10. Jace Walden says:

    Investments in tourism are something that should be handled in the private sector.

    If the “Big Pig Jig” is so awesome, then it should have no problem propping itself up without state welfare.

    The problem with government is everyone has their “reasons” why project X or project Y is “good” for the State. In reality, tax payers are getting it up the a** so some fat dude can eat 30 pounds of pulled pork.

  11. Doug Deal says:

    Jace,

    I think we are overtaxed, and I would not support increasing tag fees. I simply meant that as a matter of procedure or a mechanism of funding it is ok.

    The state should not be basing funding on people committing crime.

  12. Inside_Man says:

    I hope the $10 in your pocket is some consolation while you bleed to death waiting for an ambulance on the side of the road. Traumatic injuries are the leading cause of death for people aged 1-44 in this state, and our death rate due to traumatic injuries is 14% higher than the national average. Were an integrated trauma network in place, your chances of surviving a traumatic injury would increase by an order of magnitude.

    The super-speeders add on is a non-issue. If Erick thinks that these super speeders are the least likely to pay, he is probably right. The result is: they won’t pay. However the Governor and the leadership knows that speeding tickets are an unreliable funding source, because MOST of them are not paid.

    I’ll bet you $10 that the tag fees raise almost all of the $85 million to fund trauma.

  13. Jace Walden says:

    Inside_man,

    Thanks for the hyperbole, bud.

    It’s funny, I don’t remember saying that we shouldn’t fund Traumatic Injury Response. I just said the funding needs to come from somewhere other than a tax increase.

    But please, don’t let your BS hyperbole get in the way of your reading comprehension skills. 🙂

  14. rugby_fan says:

    I look at it this way.

    We need the funding, we need the services, we aren’t getting a reduction in unnecessary spending anytime soon.

    I’m fine with the $10 tax qua fee.

  15. Jace Walden says:

    Rugby_Jmac,

    I don’t know where this study is from, but its kind of misleading.

    It may be correct that the other industrialized countries pay more in taxes, but the citizens recieve more services per tax dollar spent than U.S. citizens do per tax dollar, as JMAC pointed out.

    That goes to say that a greater percentage of every dollar in taxes we spend goes toward wasteful spending than in the other countries.

    So maybe percentage wise we are taxed less, but a greater percentage of our tax money is wasted.

    For all intents and purposes, we’re taxed higher because we see fewer benefits from our taxes. I know that’s a stretch…it’s hard to put into words exactly what I’m trying to say though.

    I’m not sure which study I heard this from, but our taxes on personal and corporate income and on personal property are among the highest in the G8 nations.

  16. Doug Deal says:

    Jace,

    I do not think your analysis is good in your comment on Dec 7, 2007 at 2:24 pm.

    The US spends more on military expenditures as a total figure and as a percentage of it’s budget than any country in Europe. I do not think this is counted as a “benefit”, and therefore, it would make the amount of benefits recieved by each individual through direct payments, medical services, grants, etc less as a percentage of total revenue. I do not think you want to say that more direct payments are a good thing.

    It may be that the figures you are remembering refer to total revenue collected by government as opposed to per capita or percentages.

    Here is a table with budget revenues for every country of the world.

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/eco_bud_rev-economy-budget-revenues

    Notice who is the most heavily taxed, the US. Then per capita as a percent of GDP we are:

    #149 United States: $0.21 per $1 of GDP

    That means 148 of countries around the world have a higher tax burden.

    (There is a slight inaccuracy in this data in that it does not appear to include state and local taxes)

  17. Dave says:

    Why don’t we require that people pay for their own medical treatment whether it be for doctor’s visits or getting in a head on crash? While we’re at it why don’t people pay for their own food, their own college for their kids and anything else they need to sustain their lives and the lives of their own families. And for those who are unfortunate and not the winners in “life’s lottery” there are always private charities like churches. Enough of this womb to the tomb horse squeeze.

  18. Redcatcher says:

    The $85 million figure that was tossed was a figure that some docs came up with during the trauma hearing last year. This figure was just to make the docs and hospitals not totally healthy,but to help. The real figure for a full fledged trauma network would be aroung $200 million to get it off the ground.
    As for who pays and who doesn’t, it is true that some trauma care is not paid for. Trauma is a losing area for hospitals. Especially if you are a level two trauma center. One interesting note. I heard a neuro surgeon make the statement that those who are treated and cannot pay are the first to bring suit against his peers.

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