Monday, March 01, 2010

The laws of unintended consequences.

I honestly don't know why these people never learn. When you raise taxes - people use less of whatever item they are taxing. All the states raised sales taxes the past year or two.

What happened? Sales tax revenue went down. So, they got the bright idea that they needed to raise taxes more. What happened?

Sales tax revenue went down even more.

Now, some cities in California have decided to charge a 300-400.00 fee for dialing 911. Instead of laying off their bloated emergency personel, they figure they will just charge you for it.

I'm of a mixed mind about this. Some people do abuse emergency services. However, the police force would be completely ineffectual without citizens calling in to report issues. You never really know how much neighbors are narcs until you listen to a police band radio. I bought one many years back because my power was constantly going out. The utility services would never be able to tell me what the problem was. But, on a PB you could tell if someone hit a pole, or a transformer blew. And, you could kinda get an idea when your power might be restored.

Immediately though, you start to realize that the police force wouldn't be so sucessful without the public monitoring their own neighborhoods and calling in tips. To be true - a charge like this would put a stop to parents calling in their kids because they aren't doing what they want them to. Domestics really make up a lot of calls. A 300 buck charge will put a stop to that pretty quickly.

A charge like that will put a stop to a lot of calls pretty quickly. Sure, maybe you see someone going into your neighbors back yard. But, you have to be 300 bucks worth the sure to call it in.

I'm betting in pretty quick order people will start handling things themselves, and the city will again be forced to justify their bloated services. And if history is any indicator, they will just raise taxes more.

"(NewsCore) - Beginning Monday, callers to 911 in Loma Linda, California will be charged for each call, KABC-TV in Los Angeles reported.

Residents will be charged $300 for each 911 call to the Loma Linda Fire Department and non-residents will be billed $400, the station reported. Residents also can pay a $48 annual fee and avoid any call charges.

The station reported Loma Linda city officials said they needed the fees to offset the high cost of providing emergency services.

Loma Linda was at least the third California city to recently implement fees for emergency calls."


  1. I can't imagine that a 911 fee is going to be legal. Wouldn't surprise me to see this one lose in court. Of course defending the lawsuit will end up costing them a bunch more in taxpayers money, but who really cares when it's other people's money? How can you have laws that require citizens to report crimes and then charge them for fulfilling their civic duty? there are already laws against pointless 911 calls, if they're getting too many of them, they should start charging fees for those. I know that if my house was on fire, I'd want the neighbors to call the fire department for me.

  2. Oh yeah. That's a really good point. I'd forgotten about the laws that force you to report crimes.

    I figured the newly created "free market" (eye roll) would sort that out before the courts got around to fixing it. It spreads like wildfire when a hefty fine is involved. So, I just expected a dramatic drop in 911 business.