Fees and Fines Versus Taxes
Because taxes need to be approved by voters they appear to be in disfavor by the public, given the spending habits of the elected. The taxes that have been approved have a bad habit of shifting from the original purpose to the giant black hole in Sacramento or locally, which absorbs all money without emitting any useful product outside of more rhetoric.
Bonds are a substitute for new taxes but they also need public approval, and are sometimes approved, as in the case of the new high-speed train to nowhere.
Fees are the upcoming revenue source because they don't need approval. Thus, traffic fines doubled this past year and it now costs over a thousand dollars for a speeding ticket, and if it were in a construction zone it would be two thousand, and many other innocuous inventions.
I am talking about many kinds of fees here, such as when the Federal Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms Agency passed a new $250 fee for additional regulation of restaurants and bars serving alcoholic beverages. Then they took three years to get the invoice to the businesses.
Since it was then three years old it was for S750 plus penalties and interest for non-payment. Now we have environmental taxes called fees for tires on cars both when they are bought and also when they are disposed of [The State of California has nothing else to do with your dirty old tires which go to Mexico or sold for used tires if not burned in a cement kiln out in the Mojave].
And there is the recyclable can and bottle business which produces a 50% profit for the state from the cans and bottles not redeemed. And now a new environmental tax on electronic items which end up in the recyclers back yard to be salvaged as scrap.
The General fund reaps all these funds for their insatiable pensions and salary expenses [most of which are to collect more taxes and fees].
* Phillip B Chute is an Enrolled Agent, tested, licensed, and appointed by the IRS directly. He has prepared or supervised over 25,000 tax returns over 30 years.