User Fees

Greensboro Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan’s comment regarding charging user fees for the “swim center” really got me thinking about the issue.

I love user fees,* toll roads, etc.  They’re great.

Florida, a well-known low-tax state, uses them all the time.  Parks and roads are the biggies but they probably use them for other things too.  It used to bother me that Florida’s Turnpike is a toll road.  It cost $13 for me to go to Orlando from where I used to live and $1.50 to drive up to the Wal-Mart!  But then I realized that it didn’t cost me anything if I didn’t go to Orlando.  And I could always take I-95 to the Wal-Mart, which is free, but takes longer.  So there’s your trade-off: are you willing to pay more to go faster or not?

Here in Greensboro, the library is run by the city, but residents of “surrounding counties” can get a library card — for free.  That’s not right.  We pay for it, but other people can use it for free.  Yes, just like the swim center.  And also like the Greensboro Cultural Center.  I’ve taken my children to several classes there, but never has there been a price differential for out of city residents.  Hm.

So, not only is the city spending our hard earned money on fluffy projects, we are subsidizing the use of these things by out of town residents.  That certainly doesn’t seem like a way to lower taxes!  Maybe that is why the city keeps forcibly annexing people!

*REAL user fees, not calling a hotel tax a “user fee” on a swimming pool!

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