Last night, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association put out the word that the City of Chula Vista would attempt to pass a “crash tax” at its Tuesday afternoon meeting. To recap, these fees are imposed upon the responsible parties in vehicle accidents for a whole bevy of services, under the guise of “cost-recovery.” Umm, isn’t that what our TAXES are paying for?
Thanks to sounding the alarm, the Chula Vista City Council pulled the item off the agenda without discussion at the meeting. No reason was given.
Meanwhile, up the road in National City it turns out the City Council docketed virtually the SAME item, with a few differences. It would only apply to non-residents (smart, so as not to rile voters who elect these folks), and the fees would range from a low of $435 (same as Chula Vista) to a high of $5,000 (well over double the highest amount in Chula Vista).
This item was so well-hidden on the docket that even the Taxpayers Association didn’t find out about it until minutes before the meeting. So much for transparency and accountability. The measure passed on its first reading without any discussion. It will have to come back for a final vote some time in June. You can bet that it won’t be missed the next time.
There’s a lot to loathe about these efforts. The double taxation issue is a given. Next, let’s look at the impact when cities try to convince the voters it’s “OK” because only non-residents are taxed. Non-residents shop in your cities, work in your cities, and drive your streets. First, they’ll avoid shopping in towns where they might pay a big price for getting into a traffic accident. Second, maybe it will be the dealbreaker in a situation where they’re unhappy about commuting to work in your area anyway. Finally, what happens when someone declines to call 9-1-1 or report an accident because it might cost money?
Residents, as usual be assured you’re going to end up paying the price of these sneaky taxes too.
What’s up with this company Fire Recovery USA, LLC? Both Chula Vista and National City’s proposals award the management contract for their programs to Fire Recovery USA – the same company who would run the San Miguel Fire District’s crash tax operation. This company is based in a suburb of Sacramento. Gee, imagine that. On its website, it markets its services directly to fire departments looking to generate some new revenue. Fire Recovery USA brags about its “higher recovery rate” due to its “advanced collection methods.” This is what used to be called “a racket.” According to Dictionary.com, one of the definitions of racket is “an easy or profitable source of livelihood.”
Remember, that’s easy at YOUR expense.