Coming soon to a rearview mirror near you -- the chance to pay for police fuel, and I'm not talking about buying 'em a bag of donuts either...
I was making my law enforcement rounds awhile back.
Saw an officer of the law sitting in an office.
I joked to him: "How come you're not out patrolling and crushing crime?"
He joked in response: "I'm busy saving the city money by not burning gasoline."
We shared a few more laughs, then I went on about my rat-killing.
The exchange set me to thinking: Soaring fuel costs must be eating a hole in the city budget, and the county's as well.
Other than writing more tickets to pay for the increased cost of gasoline -- thereby gaining a reputation of a speed trap, which could scare off the tourist dollars this area so desperately wants -- what's the answer?
Well, here's a suggestion that can raise money without raising property taxes.
The envelope, please. (drum roll here.)
How about a fuel surcharge on your next speeding ticket?
Holly Springs, Georgia, population 7,700, is doing exactly that.
Drivers caught speeding in the north Atlanta suburb now have to pay an extra $12 to cover fuel costs for the police officers who stopped them.
The fee increase actually applies to all moving violations, not just speeding tickets.
Here's a question for our budget makers -- the elected and appointed officials in charge of making our tax dollars go as far as possible. Why not consider a fuel surcharge? The airlines do. Lots of pizza delivery places do.
People complain about these "add-on" taxes, but they have little choice but to pay them, unless they want to walk and go hungry.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but there's money out there to be made to help Chickasaw municipalities hit by soaring fuel bills.
Insurance companies already practice a version of the fuel surcharge tax. When you get a speeding ticket, you're basically voluntarily taxing yourself to pay the higher costs of your premium.
Municipal officials may also consider a sliding surcharge: the faster, the higher. The insurance companies basically already do the same thing. The higher the speed listed on your ticket, the more your premium rises.
A fuel surcharge added to tickets would be a democratic tax -- one people voluntarily place on themselves when they break the law.
It's a self-taxing system. If you don't break the law, you don't pay the tax.
Don't do the crime if you can't pay the fine.