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Friday, 16 March 2007
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When Is a Fee a Tax?

A recent commentary is saying that it's wrong to label all of Doyle's new "revenue sources" as "taxes":

Doyle decided to fund the increasing costs of programs that serve Wisconsin residents by holding the line on taxes and increasing fees. Doyle has not and will not propose increases in the traditional revenue bases of personal and corporate income taxes and the sales tax.
The important thing to remember during the budget debate is that if it's not sales or income, it's not a tax.

Republicans are focusing on Doyle's proposal to implement a hospital assessment. Republicans call it a tax.

 Alright... so let's just answer this question right now.  Is every fee a tax?  No.  But just cause you call it a fee, doesn't mean it's not a tax.  A tax is something that everyone has to pay, pretty much without choice.  Income tax, sales tax, gas tax... yes... gas tax is a tax.  A fee is a "usage tax".  I know, there's that T word again... but it's different.

If you don't use a particular service, you don't have to pay the tax.  And it can only be called a fee if that money is used to offset the cost of the thing you're using.  If that money get's funneled anywhere else, then all bets are off on calling it a fee.

So is it really fair to call a hospital bed fee a tax?  Well... let me ask you this.  Do you have a choice when you go to the hospital?  It's not like you're paying to use a state park.  There's your answer.

# Posted at 21:21 by Nick  |  Comment Feed Link No Comments  |  No Trackbacks

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