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Should cities collect a crash tax from out of towners involved in auto crashes? Sacramento repeals its tax

By dcuff
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 at 9:24 am in driving.

You get into a car crash outside your home city. You’re upset. You know this will be expensive. Then it gets worse. You find out  you could be forced to pay several hundred dollars of a local tax imposed on drivers from out of town to finance the local fire department’s responses to auto collisions. Some cities are levying these so-called crash taxes, but the Sacramento City Council voted yesterday to repeal its new fee before anyone paid it.  Read this story about it in the Sacramento Bee. I haven’t heard about any East Bay cities implementing crash taxes, but it’s a trend that bears watching as Calfornia cities and counties desperately look for new money sources in hard times. Sacramento’s crash tax would have been collected from out of town motorists who caused accidents. Charge those responsible, the city’s argument went. I think a lot of drivers would argue crash taxes are hitting motorists when they’re down.  If you need emergency help from an emergency agency, you shouldn’t have to pay based on your zip code, many would argue. Officials at some of Sacramento’s neighboring cities felt the crash tax was unfair to them, and amounted to a local slap at regional cooperation.

The Roseville City Council last month repealed its crash tax.

Share you ideas below on the notion of crash taxes for out of towners.

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