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Florida Continues to Tax Its Citizens During Economic Instability

The next time you are considering a relocation from within or outside of the United States, you might just want to conduct some research on the States that are taxing its citizens to death. Case in point–the Sunshine State aka Florida. The State of Florida currently boasts an unemployment rate of 11% and even with all the taxes that the State have collected over the years, unemployment rates always seem to remain high even in times of economic stability. Most recently, Florida decided to levy taxes on its citizens through fees in every conceivable category including death and burial. Of course, we all understand the necessity of taxes in society. However, when the fees being charged seem to be far more exorbitant than is required to fund any program, a red flag goes off even in the most optimistic of minds.

Towards the end of 2009, the State of Florida decided to tax its citizens with various fees to the tune of about $2.3 billion. The fees included vehicle registration, car title, license plates, late payments, diver’s license, specialty plates, new residents tax, driver tax, reflectorization, divorce, death tax, foreclosure filings, probate cases, state parks, fishing, business billboards, and garbage tax. Most individuals will agree that paying taxes is not a painful process once employment and incomes are available. However, with Florida ranking among the top foreclosure States in the country with an unemployment rate to match, it is rather unconscionable for the legislature to increase fees to the extent to which they did while individuals are already struggling to buy food and pay other bills.

Many Floridians continue to struggle economically and occupationally. Yet, the State continues to make their struggles even more challenging by taxing them when many of its citizens have no money, no jobs, and are in fact destitute. Being a veteran or disabled veteran does not relieve the stresses of the fines being levied by the State either. Therefore, any veterans or disabled veterans expecting to receive any type of benefits from the State of Florida upon the completion of military service should look elsewhere. Florida is no longer the Sunshine State for everyone, but a Sunshine State for the rich and, or richly retired.

While all these changes are happening, Governor Charile Christ seems to be paying little attention to his already suffering citizens, and the same can be said about his budget-balancing skills. How do you punish your citizens because your accountants are unable to do their jobs of managing the State’s budget? It is not the responsibility of the citizens to bail out the State of Florida whenever one of the government’s hired help falls asleep at the wheel. Bailing out a State during job stability and economic progress is one thing, but bailing out a State when all the citizens pockets are empty is a total different ball game.

Some of the price changes in some of the fees that Florida residents will now have to pay are as follows:

Renewing driver’s license:
Before: $20
After: $48

Delinquent fee
Before: $1
After: $15

Replace license
Before: $10
After: $25

Registration Renewal for Vehicles under 2,500 lbs For example: Honda Civic, Toyota Yaris, Mazda Miata and Hyundai Accent
Before: $28.10
After: $46.65

Vehicles 2,500 to 3,499 lbs For example: Nissan Altima, Toyota Corolla, Toyota Camry, Ford Taurus, Chevy Malibu and Honda Accord
Before: $36.10
After: $57.65

Vehicles over 3,500 lbs For example: Chevy Silverado, Chevy Impala, Ford Explorer, Dodge Charger, Nissan Maxima, Toyota 4Runner
Before: $46.10
After: $71.15

Transfer title with original registration (used car purchase) example: used Toyota Camry with the Sea Turtle plate
Total title and registration, including initial registration fee Before: $209.85
After: $396.40

Original title (new car purchase) For example, Toyota 4Runner
Total title and registration, including initial registration fee Before: $191.85
After: $403.90

Original title (transfer from out of state) For example: Honda Civic
Total title and registration, including initial registration fee
Before: $161.85
After: $351.40

As far as has been reported, the fees are permanent. However, do not expect services at any of licensing agencies to get better, as there are currently over 335 vacant positions due to hiring freezes and closed offices. Though the State of Florida is taxing citizens based on a claim of budget shortfall, this is not the first time Florida has had issues with its budget, or its ability to provide employment and other needed services to its citizens. Maybe it’s time for Florida to seek assistance from other States that are able to, and have continued successfully to provide for its citizens, instead of bleeding them dry. While Florida is seeking such assistance from experts inside or outside of the State, perhaps Florida will also retire the moniker, “Sunshine State” and replace it with something less attractively deceiving.

View the original article at Veterans Today

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