Two shorts

DebSF -- April 15th, 2009

The recent DNR article about the success of the winter version of the H’burg Farmers Market was great news.  The spring season starts this Saturday, April 18th and runs Tuesday/Saturdays from 7a.m. – 1p.m.  Along these lines, there’s been some noise on some of the econ blogs I read about HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act;  some saying that it will be goodbye to farmers markets, because it will regulate and penalize each farmer who wishes to sell locally.  Following some internet breadcrumbs led me to this  great post on Lavidalocalvore.org (a new blog to me, but now a regular read) about the myths and facts relating to the bill.  Short answer: looks like  farmers markets will be fine.

On an unrelated note, remember the fuss in the spring 0f 2008 about the $1 fee charged to inmates at the Rockingham County jail, the one that provoked a few letters to the editor like this one and this one?  There’s a growing trend nationwide for cities to respond to the growing revenue crunch by raising fees for a lot of stuff, including some things that might surprise you.  Econ-types have long argued that certain kinds of fees could increase the quality of life in cities and towns (think congestion pricing in London and NYC).  But this, hmmm…

From Winterhaven, Flordia:

After her sport utility vehicle sideswiped a van in early February, Shirley Kimel was amazed at how quickly a handful of police officers and firefighters in Winter Haven, Fla., showed up. But a real shock came a week later, when a letter arrived from the city billing her $316 for the cost of responding to the accident.

Geez, isn’t this an disincentive for people to use emergency services?  For telling the truth about an accident?  In general, do you think that fees a reasonable substitute for cities to use to raise revenue instead of tax increases?

One Response to “Two shorts”

  1. I’m not necessarily opposed to charging for services, but the price has to be a little more transparent and upfront. It also seems that if they’re going to charge you, you should be able to choose a level of service. When the whole fire department shows up because they’re bored, you shouldn’t have to pay extra.

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