By ABDUL HAKIM-SHABAZZ, guest columnist
When I drove to Chicago over the long holiday weekend with my brother, we were worried about how much the increase in the state gas tax was going to cost us.
He drove, and I paid for gas, so I carefully monitored how much gas we put in the car for the trip. His car usually gets about 30 mpg on the interstate, and a round trip to Chicago usually runs him about 11 gallons. So it turns out that dime increase in gas tax costs me a whole whopping $1.10. Clutch the pearls!
My average cigar costs me $15 and a gin martini, with two olives, $10. So if I give up two martinis and a cigar I can afford to make the trip to Chicago at least 30 times. Yes, I’m being facetious. But I bring that up because of all the gloom and doom coming from the rabid, almost jihadist, anti-tax crowd.
During the entire debate over road funding, these people whined, moaned and gnashed their teeth over the possibility of having to pay for the roads that they use. And it’s not the just roads these people complained about. By now, you’ve heard the story of Republicans raising 45 taxes and fees in the last session. Did any of these people bother to look at what exactly those taxes and fees were? I did. And guess what, it’s unlikely most of the people complaining about the fee increases will ever pay any of them.
For example, do you own a billboard? If not you don’t have to worry about paying the transfer ($40), modification ($100) or permit replacement fee ($25), much less pay the penalty for failing to timely identify the owner of a billboard promptly when it’s sold. ($400)
Unless you’re a teacher, you can breathe easier about not having to pay the $10 fee increase ($30-$40) every five years to cover the cost of your background check.
If you’re going on the Maury Povich Show to find out who your baby’s daddy is, you might have reason to protest the DNA sample processing fee which went from $2 to $3, but somehow I think you have bigger things to worry about right now.
The list of these fundamental violations of our constitutional rights goes on and on. Massage therapists have to pay $100 for their license. You have to pay a $100 to install a small cell tower. The copying fee charged for recorded documents goes to from seven cents to a dime. Visiting professional athletes would have to pay income taxes on their earning in Indiana.
And of course, there’s the most egregious “fee” of them all. It’s the one that went from $500 to $10,000. Brace yourself. It’s the fee increasing the penalty for operating a pyramid scheme in the state of Indiana.
I don’t know about you, but I am just outraged at this government run amok. What kind of fascist dictatorship do we live in when the government charges you a fee for the service that you are using instead of having it subsidized by the taxpayers for the general fund.
A user fee?! Seriously?! This is a crime against humanity. Albeit the $100 fee for licensed massage therapists isn’t too horrible. My wife is a massage therapist, and she can just pass that costs along to her clients. Of course, her biggest client is her wonderful husband, and that means the complimentary massages will probably have to come to an end. Now I’m back to being outraged again.
When I think about these taxes and fee increased it’s almost enough to make me want to get together with other like-minded people, drive down to the Statehouse with our torches and pitchforks and storm the place. Unfortunately, since no one has any desire to pay the 10-cent increase in the gas tax, we’ll have to figure out some other way to get there.
Abdul Hakim-Shabazz is an attorney and the editor and publisher of IndyPoltics.Org. Send comments to email@example.com.