Sign of the times; 'Phantom Taxes'

Are you starting to get the feeling that there's a cop around every bend in the road just waiting to give you a ticket for speeding? Or a meter maid hovering near your parking meter waiting for the minutes to expire?

Don't worry. You're not imagining things as this piece in the the New York Post by Brad Hamilton and Susan Edelman shows:

Reluctant to raise taxes publicly, the Bloomberg administration is pursuing a "stealth tax" - launching an unprecedented squeeze on Big Apple residents and businesses, cracking down on parking, health, safety and quality-of-life infractions with a vengeance, the data shows.The ongoing blitz has worked so well that City Hall bean counters expect to rake in a record $884 million in fines by the end of this fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

That's a 10% jump over last year's $802 million.

And there's no letting up. Fines are projected to increase to $896 million in 2011.

"We need to get the revenue from somewhere," said a City Hall source. "We could just tax people and take it out of your wallet or we can be aggressive in enforcement."

But what's good for the city's bottom line is misery for the Average Joe, who's being tagged with more tickets for offenses such as parking at an expired meter, improperly sorting trash and putting up illegal stoop-sale posters.

Business owners are getting hit even harder, thanks to aggressive new enforcement from health and building inspectors.

If you run a bistro or bar, watch your back. The Health Department issued 34,039 restaurant violations in 2009, up from 25,745 in 2008, and it's on pace to bank $38 million in fines this year after getting $31 million in both 2009 and 2008.

Ed Lasky adds:

Many fads start in New York City. Here is one that my friends and I seem to be experiencing in Northbrook: police cars are everywhere these days. But beyond that anecdote, the IRS has substantially increased the number of employees dedicated to finding errors in tax returns; the EPA and the Justice Department are also on hiring binges. The fed crackdown has just begun.

The Leviathan needs to be fed.

When government feels compelled to enforce laws not for the sake of good government but because they need cash, it puts a decided crimp in personal liberty. But that hardly matters to governments who seek new revenue streams rather than cutting the size and cost of their operations.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky



Are you starting to get the feeling that there's a cop around every bend in the road just waiting to give you a ticket for speeding? Or a meter maid hovering near your parking meter waiting for the minutes to expire?

Don't worry. You're not imagining things as this piece in the the New York Post by Brad Hamilton and Susan Edelman shows:

Reluctant to raise taxes publicly, the Bloomberg administration is pursuing a "stealth tax" - launching an unprecedented squeeze on Big Apple residents and businesses, cracking down on parking, health, safety and quality-of-life infractions with a vengeance, the data shows.

The ongoing blitz has worked so well that City Hall bean counters expect to rake in a record $884 million in fines by the end of this fiscal year, which runs from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010.

That's a 10% jump over last year's $802 million.

And there's no letting up. Fines are projected to increase to $896 million in 2011.

"We need to get the revenue from somewhere," said a City Hall source. "We could just tax people and take it out of your wallet or we can be aggressive in enforcement."

But what's good for the city's bottom line is misery for the Average Joe, who's being tagged with more tickets for offenses such as parking at an expired meter, improperly sorting trash and putting up illegal stoop-sale posters.

Business owners are getting hit even harder, thanks to aggressive new enforcement from health and building inspectors.

If you run a bistro or bar, watch your back. The Health Department issued 34,039 restaurant violations in 2009, up from 25,745 in 2008, and it's on pace to bank $38 million in fines this year after getting $31 million in both 2009 and 2008.

Ed Lasky adds:

Many fads start in New York City. Here is one that my friends and I seem to be experiencing in Northbrook: police cars are everywhere these days. But beyond that anecdote, the IRS has substantially increased the number of employees dedicated to finding errors in tax returns; the EPA and the Justice Department are also on hiring binges. The fed crackdown has just begun.

The Leviathan needs to be fed.

When government feels compelled to enforce laws not for the sake of good government but because they need cash, it puts a decided crimp in personal liberty. But that hardly matters to governments who seek new revenue streams rather than cutting the size and cost of their operations.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky