Budget crisis creates new fees, higher fees - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Budget crisis creates new fees, higher fees

By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – The state continues to look for ways to generate revenue to help balance the budget.  Now, Georgia lawmakers are proposing dozens of new fees and fee hikes in hopes of raising revenue by 100 million dollars a year.

But we would all have to cough up extra cash to make it happen. And proposed fees and fee increases would put a strain on small businesses.

Small businesses across the country are struggling to survive. They've laid off employees and cut their prices in hopes of encouraging business. And the folks we spoke to Friday, say state leaders could take a few lessons from them about how to handle your tax dollars.

State leaders are struggling to sink the putt when it comes to the budget crisis. They are swinging away making cuts in the budget and adding new fees to raise revenue. Rheda Hall said, "I think they are trying to add money so that they can meet their costs, but they are forgetting that the small businesses and even the larger corporations are having a tough time, too."

Sometimes the shots they take are just too hard for small businesses, like the All American Fun Park, to take. Hall said, "I'm worried about the future. What's going to happen if they keep doing this to us?"

The latest insult is a proposal to raise fees for businesses. The renewal cost of the fun park's state license for coin-operated amusement machines will go up. Hall said, "It's more than nickel and dime. They're getting up into big money."

Money that places like Taylor's meat market will have to give up to the state, for a new state business license. "I totally oppose," said George Shoemaker. "There's enough fees charged to small businesses now."

He says state leaders have a steak appetite on a hamburger budget. "I think if the spending was under control, there wouldn't be no need for additional permits or taxes and that's what upsets me so much is the people we've elected are totally oblivious to the way they're really wasting money."

Money that could go back to small businesses and the employees who work there. "As my husband says, 'it's WPP'," said Hall. "You know what that is? Way past pitiful!" A pitiful way to fill the budget hole, by creating a deeper hole for small businesses.

Business leaders say one reason they are worried about new fees is they may start out at one rate this year, and only continue to grow each year thereafter.

It's not just businesses that would be impacted. A higher fee for filing civil court cases has also been proposed, as well as dozens of other fee proposals and increases.

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