Saturday, September 10, 2011

How 'Small Government' Conservatives Raise Your Taxes Through Stealthy Back-Door Fees

Sound familiar Minnesota?

AlterNet / By Joshua Holland 

From drivers' licenses to public schools, state and local governments are 
raising money any way they can--all while cutting taxes on the rich.

There isn't much in the way of 50-state data on fees for services. But whether you know it or not, significant fee hikes are nickle and dime-ing you pretty much wherever you might live. USA Today reported that, across the country, “state and local governments are turning to user fees to raise quick cash — from increases on hunting licenses to fees for enrolling in the Little League. One town is considering charging accident victims who need to be extricated from their cars.”

In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that “public schools across the country... are shifting costs to students and their parents by imposing or boosting fees for everything from enrolling in honors English to riding the bus.”

 And it's not just K-12. The United States is the only advanced country in which the federal government isn't directly involved in higher education. Tight state budgets have helped drive dramatic increases in the average cost of a college education for more than a generation. In 1957, for example, a full-time student at the University of Minnesota paid $111 per year in tuition, which, in today’s dollars, is about $750. During the 2005–2006 school year, in-state tuition at the University of Minnesota was $8,040. As education writer Naomi Rockler-Gladen noted, that’s an inflation-adjusted increase of 1,000 percent. At more than $7,000 in average yearly costs (in 2009), a public university education in the United States is something that saddles students with almost as much debt as opportunity.

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