In the general discussion about how to pay for needed highway construction we note there seems to be some difference of opinion as to whether a gasoline tax is a user fee.
As a general condition, it is our opinion that area-wide taxation for the benefit of the entire community cannot be considered a "user fee." Adequate, safe, well maintained streets would, we believe, would fall into that category.
But if some legislators want to play around with the concept of a "user fee" we would suggest taking look at how we raise funds for the benefit of professional sports franchises and the downtown hospitality industry.
Under the guise of an alleged "economic development" factor, the revenues from the Marion County Food and Beverage Tax quite clearly benefit the two groups mentioned above. (There are those who deny significant benefits to the city itself from the presence of a football or basketball team.)
We suggest a realistic study of the cost of operating a professional sports team, with emphasis on establishing the actual needed ticket price to cover the entire cost of operating the business without the use of public funding. Including the usual and ordinary business costs such as construction costs, real estate taxes, etc..
The cost of the ticket could then be labeled a "user fee" established by the business and paid by the user of the ticket. What could be fairer?
Should we be subsidizing a car dealer because the luxury automobile offered is beyond the financial capabilities of Joe Sixpack but that the dealer would fail without Joe’s legally enforced tax contribution?
Private business operations shut down every day because they can’t make it. This should apply to all businesses, even if they are within the Mile Square or subsist by bouncing, throwing or kicking a ball around.
The taxpayer does not belong in that equation!