I don’t have a problem with this

From the AJC

“The Department of Transportation says it costs $400 to do each of the safety inspections the fee [$10] — unchanged since 1978 — is supposed to fund.”

This is a good chance for the General Assembly to do two things – one determine if we should even be licensing this at all, and if not cut spending by eliminating the staff who do the licensing, or two – set the fees to match the cost so the rest of us aren’t subsidizing it.

I’d even suggest a third option which is to create enabling legislation to allow the department heads to set the fees as they see fit (with review from the General Assembly) and then cut out all financial support for the activity from the general appropriations bills.

There is no reason my tax dollars need to go subsidize the gun nuts who want to get a dealers license, but don’t want to pay the costs themselves.

Fees that have no relationship to the costs of providing the service is the same as “From each according to their ability to pay, to each according to their political connections”.

24 comments

    • Kellie says:

      Did you even read the article? The $10 fee that actually cost $400 was with the dept of transportation, not “gun nuts”.

      The gun dealer fee is $25. It has not gone up but it did not say it was subsidized either. It just hasn’t been raised since it was started.

      I agree fees should be equal to the cost but they should not increase just because it is for something some may not like.

  1. B Balz says:

    There are dozens, if not hundreds of small, procedures, processes in our State government that can be streamlined for efficiency.

    In the current budget, Dept of Admin Services has a significant budget increase. Time should be spent reviewing that.

    The Board of Regents is both insular and unaccountable (so says Icarus). They are not cutting their budget. And so it goes down the line.

    Although these little items add up and should be addressed; let’s not kid ourselves, they won’t resolve the budget issues we face.

  2. Harry says:

    It’s a long overdue suggestion, but I hope they don’t use any realized savings to just shore up other spending and grow an already oversized budget.

  3. BuckheadConservative says:

    I agree with this solution. The closer we can put the cost to the point/person of consumption the better. Unfortunately fee increases can be as politically unpopular as tax increases. In Mass, they beat Romey over the head with the fee increases enacted under his watch.

    • John Konop says:

      BC,

      I agree, as you may know I have said for years nothing is conservative about providing a service and not getting paid for it. This is just as illogical as cutting taxes without proper spending cuts.

      I have had this debate numerous times with so-called fiscal conservatives. A user fee if done right is the revenue to off-set the cost of providing a service different from a tax that is not necessarily associated with the cost. That is why I have always been a fan of user fees over tax increases to create accountability. For the life of me I cannot understand how any fiscal conservative cannot understand this concept. The people against this, are not fiscally conservative they are irresponsible.

      • Gary Cooper says:

        Totally agree. The fee should always match the cost of service, never a deficit nor surplus. If the costs change, the fee should be adjusted.

        It is crazy that some of these have not been touched in decades. Imagine if we would not have had the current economic issues, would any of these findings be made? Would we continue to waste money?

        • polisavvy says:

          I agree wholeheartedly with you guys. Something that finally makes sense being considered.

  4. I agree… this is long overdue. I’d like to see as many departments of the government pay for themselves directly through user fees as possible. I understand that this may not be possible for every area of government, but take for instance boat ramps. If you’re going to pay an attendant to collect usage fees, the attendant should at least collect enough to pay their salary / wages. There are too many other examples to list here, but hopefully our elected representatives are smart enough to figure this stuff out.

  5. Howard Roark says:

    “There is no reason my tax dollars need to go subsidize the gun nuts who want to get a dealers license, but don’t want to pay the costs themselves.”

    Gun Dealers License (FFL’s) are obtained from the ATF, not state government.

    Carrying a gun is much easier than carrying a police officer with you when traveling.

  6. aquaman says:

    Instead of raising the fees how about just eliminating the “service” altogether. Can a $400 airport safety inspection be worth the effort? Does it provide a needed layer of protection? What we NEED is less government not higher fees.

  7. Dennis Do Right says:

    The DOT is such a poorly run agency we should not even be talking about these bogus fees.

    The DOT is a disgrace, worst of all 50 states with no end in site. Fire them all and start again with a competent board and management.

  8. hewhoone says:

    I have no problem with increasing fees that are too low if we also lower the ones that are too high.

    For example, Georgia has a ridiculous foreclosure rate yet the state penalizes people who need to refinance their home by charging a 3% intangible tax. Someone struggling to make the payment on a $360,000 home would have to come up with more than $1000 to refinance into a lower mortgage rate. That is stupid and counterproductive.

  9. hewhoone says:

    Dave, I mean no disrespect but I’m not sure I see your point.

    My dictionary defines the word fee as “A charge fixed by an institution or by law”. So the intangibles “tax” on someone who chooses to take out a new mortgage clearly meets the definition of a fee.

    But semantics aside, to paraphrase Reagan, the problem is not that fees are too low, the problem is that government spends too much. Sure there may be some user fees that are lower than they could be but there are also many fees (“taxes” if you prefer) that are too high. Adjusting one without adjusting the other is just penalizing more people to raise revenue.

    I specifically brought the mortgage intangibles tax up because the AJC article mentions a mortgage transfer “fee” as if it were unreasonably low but made no mention of the 3% intangible “tax” which simultaneously gouges Georgia taxpayers for the same activity.

    • Mozart says:

      Not to make a mountain larger, but, your definition states that a “fee” is “a charge fixed by an institution or by law.”

      The intangible tax on a new mortgage is a $ amount per $1000 value of the total mortgage. That signifies that it is a “tax” because you pay based on a percent of a total amount, not a fixed fee based on just the transaction activity itself.

      • But a charge (fee) can be fixed at a certain percentage. All it says is that it’s fixed by an institution or by law. I would submit that all taxes are fees, but not all fees are taxes. Unless there’s a certain situation I’m not able to think of off the top of my head at the moment. 🙂

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