House Bill To Earmark Fees For Specified Purposes

One would figure that when you pay a state fee for a specified purpose, the total sum of the fees collected would go towards taking care of that specified purpose.  GPB has a good example in their story about a proposed bill concerning these fees:

In 2010, Georgians paid $6.3 million in scrap tire management fees. The $1 fee paid on every new tire is meant to defray the cost of landfill cleanups.

But lawmakers didn’t use any of it for landfill cleanups that year. Instead, they redirected the fees to other budget needs as state revenues declined. That’s because the state of Georgia often collects fees but uses them for a different purpose. And it’s not required by law to only use a fee for the stated collection purpose.

Ah, we’re talking about state government after all.  So, a state fee levied to help off-set the costs of landfill cleanups isn’t really being used for that, but rather to fund other parts of government?  Makes perfect, logical sense, right?

House Bill 811, written by Rep. Jay Powell (R-171st District), would change that practice by requiring the fees to be automatically reduced proportionally each year if the fees collected were not being used for the purpose specified:

Todd Edwards with the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia says it takes a less restrictive approach than past bills.

“It wouldn’t bind the legislators to put it in a fund that they couldn’t reach for other purposes. In fact, it doesn’t bind them in any way at all,” Edwards says. “It simply dictates that if you’re not spending the fees as they’re supposed to be spent, then the fees will be reduced proportionally from that point going forward.”

Initially, it will affect a handful of fees levied by the state, but legislators could add additional fees if the bill becomes law.

3 comments

  1. Max Power says:

    Being one of those rare souls who always pays for a state park, parking pass I have no problem with this. Maybe it’ll expose the folly of trying to replace tax revenues with fees.

    • Nathan says:

      I don’t have a problem with paying a fee for a state resource that I use, but if they’re just bilking me for money by saying a fee is for one thing when they’re really using it for another, that’s just dirty pool.

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