4 Secret Taxes Cash-Strapped Governments Levy — On Whom?
|December 2, 2013||Posted by Staff under Taxes|
This 2013 excerpt of Salon, Spt 6, is by Leah A. Plunkett.
Governments are raising revenue by quietly taxing a group even more cash-strapped than they are: the poor.
Counties and states nationwide are sending out bills for services that are often involuntary: charging directly for the costs of certain governmental services traditionally paid for by the public as a whole (e.g., in the case of misfortune: emergency services).
Once services have been used, the government then bills the user for their cost. If payment isn’t made in full and on time, the user’s debt will likely grow through the addition of interest, late fees, and other penalties.
Here are four secret taxes on the poor:
1. Emergency Response Services: A trip in the ambulance or a visit from the fire department can now result in bills for thousands of dollars.
2. Unemployment Benefits: States may make access to this money quite expensive when benefits are provided on debit cards with hefty fees attached that users have to pay.
3. “Pay-to-Stay” Programs: Counties nationwide are charging inmates for the cost of their own room-and-board while they’re in prison, even for the cost of their public defender.
4. Parental Reimbursement Programs: Parents of kids who get into trouble with the law are often required to foot the bill for the government’s attempts to rehabilitate their children.
These “poor taxes” are going to pay for services that support all of us.
Ed. Notes: Is what’s wrong that the poor get charged or that there’s poverty in the first place? Paying one’s way, quid pro quo — that seems fair. What’s not fair is an economic policy that keeps people in poverty. Governments could end poverty — that both citizens and governments experience — by doing things like ending corporate welfare, ending taxes on wages, recovering all the values that society creates, such as the value of locations, and disbursing the recovered revenue to the members of society. Problem solved.