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Beware Of New (And Sometimes Hidden) Governmental Fees

I have recently noticed a few things in my daily life that has led me to believe that our government is doing anything in its power to stick its hand in my pocket and take out more money than ever. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, but this economic recession has affected all of us, including governments. Budget shortfalls it seems are daily fodder on our news broadcasts.

Therefore, I think it is up to us to do what we can to avoid these attempts by governments to separate us from our money. Some ploys are more blatant than others, but they all exist. I say this with complete confidence because all of the following incidents have occurred recently in my own life. I am writing this article for you so that maybe you can avoid some of these situations before they happen to you.  Here are a few examples of the new fees governments are trying to force upon us:

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Registatration/Tag Fees

I recently got my registration renewal notice in the mail. Keep in mind that one of the cars I drive is a 1994 Toyota Tercel, so the renewal fee for this automobile is usually less than $20 if you can believe that. This year, the renewal notice came with an already added-in fee of $37 for a new tag. Well, guess what? I don’t need a new tag for my little “classic.” If I got a new license plate, that plate may be worth more than the car itself!

I called up two different numbers to inquire. The first lady, after some hemming and hawing, told me that no, a new tag was not required, and if I didn’t want one, that I should just cross out this fee and pay the difference. I then contacted the second person to verify. This person stated that this new plate WAS in fact a requirement according to a legally passed bill. She then basically told me I had to pay it and to call my Congressman if I disagreed. Guess what? I crossed through the amount, paid the difference, and it went though fine.

If I hadn’t been paying attention, I very well may have unnecessarily spent this $37.

Forced Waste Pick-up

I live in an unincorporated part of my county, whatever that means. Waste pick-up options have always been up to us as homeowners. And actually, we used to have the choice of not having it at all which is what I chose; I just disposed of my trash myself. Recently, the county forced a new waste disposal company on all of us at a higher expense than other companies. They rolled the fees into our property taxes and were also nice enough to bill us in advance for all of 2011. I fought City Hall as much as I could on this, but lost.

No More Tax-Free Holidays

For the past several years, we could always count on one or two weekends where we could make purchases without having to pay sales tax. Guess what was conspicuously left off of this year’s calendar? You guessed it – the tax free weekends. I guess our state government likes us – but not that much.

Traffic Violations

Finally, and probably most importantly, beware of traffic violations. About three weeks ago, a co-worker of mine brought in one of those viral emails which stated that beginning August 1st of this year, our highway patrols and police officers would be pulling over one driver per hour for speeding. They expected to raise more than $8 million in new revenues from this initiative. I dismissed it as part of the internet “rumor mill” but here is a short list of some recent events:

  • A friend of mine was pulled over for speeding—going four miles over the posted limit.
  • I was pulled over for not wearing a seat belt—in my own small neighborhood.
  • I have noticed a significantly higher number of police “roadblocks” checking for insurance info, registrations, etc.

Watch Out

In short, Big Brother is out there in full force, and doing his best to solve his own financial woes at the expense of you. Don’t be a victim.

Have you had any recent experiences lately leading you to believe that the government is looking to you in order to increase their revenues? Feel free to share below.

(photo credit: wwworks)

David Bakke
David started his own personal finance blog, YourFinances101, in June of 2009 and published his first book on ways to save more and spend less called "Don't Be A Mule..." Since then he has been a regular contributor for Money Crashers. He lives just outside Atlanta, GA and most all of his free time is taken up by his amazing three year old son, Nicholas.

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