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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Fees or taxes? It really doesn't matter.

Governor Strickland was praised for not raising taxes in his next budget. He even got a standing ovation for it. Maybe that was a little premature, before he mentioned the 163 proposed new state fees. He defended the fees, saying they are "more of a payment for state services than a tax". Being a politician, he somehow doesn't realize that state imposed fees take just as much money from the people as raising taxes does. Did he forget that the state forcibly monopolized these services so they can collect the spoils, all on the back of the working class?

Looking over the list, we can tell that everyone in the state will be hard-hit in one way or another. For one example, there will be millions of dollars in revenue for 26 new agriculture fees. I don't know about the Governor, but I'm pretty sure the rest of us need to survive by eating food. How exactly is making food production more expensive in Ohio better than higher taxes? The answer remains to be seen.

Another troublesome sector is so-called public safety, where higher registration fees for passenger and commercial vehicles (as well as other fees) is expected to bring in well over $100 million. Even before this, I have always considered our insidious vehicle registration fees to be no different than a cleverly named tax. It's hard to see how this will be good for business and commerce, given that most retail goods are shipped by truck. How valuable is this state "service" to our public safety? Somehow, I doubt the world would completely fall apart without it.

I can't even begin to get into all the other fees in this one post. It is quite a stretch of the imagination to contemplate how fees like this can be part of a free society. I guess one can say we're free from state aggression as long as we don't want to drive or eat. Who needs those things anyway?

With some included spending cuts, the state's war chest still comes to a paltry $55 billion. Even this humongous amount has them claiming severe budgetary hardship. Sorry, I just don't feel bad for you. Maybe once you cut Ohio's whole government to a few million dollars, then we can talk.

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