Libertarian Party of San Francisco Media Release
13 May 2002
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, May 13, 2002 - The Libertarian Party of San Francisco today condemned across-the-board fee hikes by the City and County of San Francisco, issuing a plea for fiscal sanity instead.
"In the real world, working families with budget crunches look for ways to cut spending," said Chris Maden, Chair of the Libertarian Party of San Francisco. "But the government doesn't actually have to work for money when it can just pass a new law or hike a fee to take it, and so there's no incentive to address the real problem: runaway spending."
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the city is attempting to deal with budget shortfalls by raising fees for many city permits, licenses, and services. In its desperation for funds, the city is even jeopardizing its citizens' safety, proposing a new $60 fee for the privilege of guarding against burglars.
"This way, the city collects its money whether you choose to pay them for a permit to protect yourself now, or pay the increased body retrieval fee later," said Maden.
During the "dot-com boom," city spending rose to keep pace with increasing revenues; now that the bust is in full swing, the city is seeking additional sources of funding to maintain current or even increased expenses, rather than cutting outflow as prudent budgeting would suggest.
Starchild, a candidate for Supervisor from district 8, said, "If I'm elected to the Board of Supervisors, I'll vote to make these fee increases history. Let's cut the fees that ordinary San Franciscans have to pay, not raise them! The reason city government is experiencing a budget shortfall is because they've been spending too much. Why should we foot the bill? Let them take it out of their salaries."
The hikes may have unintended practical consequences, too. "Fee hikes are like any other price increase; when the price goes up, some people will stop buying. More dogs will just go unlicensed, more bodies will go unclaimed at the morgue, and more small business owners will opt to go underground," observed Amarcy Berry of the LPSF Executive Committee.
The nature of the increases makes it clear that the city is scraping for funds, rather than simply seeking to recoup expenses on services; the Chronicle quotes Animal Control director Carl Friedman as saying, "Obviously, with the budget crunch, we're looking for ways to get some extra money."
Any money funneled towards the government is money removed from the economy. Raising fees during the recovery from a recession is a sure way to slow the recovery; governments elsewhere in the United States and around the world have demonstrated repeatedly that cutting taxes and fees tends to actually increase government revenue.
The Libertarian Party of San Francisco (www.lpsf.org) is the local affiliate of the Libertarian Party (www.lp.org), the largest "third party" in the United States. Libertarians believe in personal freedom, in both social and economic spheres, and in minimal government to protect those freedoms. The Libertarian Party is running a full slate of partisan candidates and many non-partisan candidates in the 2002 San Francisco elections.
San Francisco Chronicle article:
"Groom-to-tomb fees up: San Franciscans will be paying more to marry, bury, keep a dog, bug a cop", available on-line at <URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/05/09/BA207274.DTL >.
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