There are some far-right conservatives in the Cheddarsphere who are fond of the mantra “fees are taxes,” but who conveniently ignore an inconvenient truth about “tax cutting” Gov. Scott Walker – his biennial budget actually increased a number of fees.

Here’s just a few examples of fee increases proposed by Gov. Walker:

  • Specify that all nonprofit organizations be charged $7 per criminal record name search, instead of $2 per search, effective July 1, 2011.
  • Require licensed lenders to receive a certificate from DFI in order to make motor vehicle title loans and pay an annual fee of $5,000.
  • Increase the vehicle title fee by $9, from $53 to $62, first applying to fees collected for original titles or title transfers on the general effective date of the bill.
  • Require DOT, upon request of a qualifying applicant who has been issued a firefighter or emergency medical technician license plate, to issue a replacement plate of the design issued prior to January 1, 2007, providing the applicant pays a $40 issuance fee, in lieu of the current $10 replacement plate fee.

If “fees are taxes,” as has been claimed, then the fact is that Scott Walker raised taxes in his most recent biennial budget.

20 Responses to If “fees are taxes,” then Scott Walker raised taxes

  1. Randy Hollenbeck says:


    Do you believe fees are taxes?

    • Zach W says:

      Randy, are you going to call out Gov. Walker for raising fees/taxes on your blog?

      • Randy Hollenbeck says:

        Did he “propose” them or do them?

        Do you believe fees are taxes? Simple question and I asked first!

        • Zach W says:

          They were proposed by Gov. Walker and voted into law by his Republican allies in the Legislature. I look forward to your blog post attacking Gov. Walker for raising fees, just as I’m sure you would if a Democratic governor had done the same.

          After all, you wouldn’t want to be a hypocrite, would you?

          • Randy Hollenbeck says:

            You choose to answer only one question and not the important one – Do you believe fees are taxes? Simple question!

            • Zach W says:

              My beliefs on taxes and fees are summed up thusly:

              A fee is a charge for use of a service or amenity – the amount of which is related to the cost of providing that service or amenity.

              A tax, on the other hand, while it may be applied to a particular good or service or more generally to the population at large, is collected to raise general purpose revenues.

              By the way, I get the same “fees are taxes” talking points from AFP that you do, but unlike you I don’t believe everything AFP says as the end all, be all.

              • Randy Hollenbeck says:

                So is that a yes or no that fees are taxes? In your own words?

                Yes or NO!

                • Zach W says:

                  Asked and answered.

                  I know AFP tells you that taxes and fees are the same thing, but as I indicated, they’re not.

                  Now I look forward to your blog post attacking Gov. Walker for raising fees. After all, you wouldn’t want to be a hypocrite about things, would you?

  2. Zach W says:

    The post is about your hypocrisy. You know as well as I do that if Jim Doyle had increased fees, you’d be screaming, but when Scott Walker does it, there’s not a peep from you.

    Heck, if Jim Doyle had hired two attorneys to represent him as he speaks to the DA about an ongoing criminal investigation involving his campaign and former aides of his, you’d be screaming about how dirty he was, but when it’s Scott Walker? Not a peep.

    • Randy Hollenbeck says:

      John Doe – Let it play out and then I will comment.

      So pension???

      Also, why didn’t you have a contract at work?

      • Zach W says:

        “Let it play out”

        No doubt you’d be saying that if we were talking about Jim Doyle. LOL

        As for why I didn’t have a contract, you’d have to ask Marty Beil that question, because I’m not privy to the negotiations between AFSCME and the state and why a contract wasn’t worked out sooner than it was.

      • Randy Hollenbeck says:

        You know why, because Doyle wanted to do what Walker did and the union said NO!!!

    • james booth says:

      It’s not an equal playing field in this town Zach. A conservative in Madison is a lonely proposition. Do you deny the difference the media makes in circumstances similar between Doyle and Walker? Of course Walker hired attorneys. And if Doyle hired attorneys under the same conditions I wouldn’t read into it anymore than I do for Walker.

      This I do know, if there was currently anything that would hold water even remotely illegal on Walker’s part, it would have been leaked to the Madison media elite ALREADY!

  3. Gareth says:

    When I worked at DOT in the late 1980s thru the early 1990’s the title transfer fee was only $10, which I believe was an accurate reflection of the cost of office overhead, clerical work, plus printing and mailing costs.

    Subsequent Governors from both parties have dramatically raised those and other fees since then. The licensing fee for automobiles is becoming ridiculous and is a real burden on low-wage workers. To the extent that the fees for any service extract a surplus over the cost of that service, that portion of the fees becomes a tax, in my opinion. Tommy Thompson was especially fond of the gimmick although Doyle wasn’t shy about using it either.

    Of course the solution to this moral dilemna is to turn government over to the private-sector wealth-extraction machine at which point the fees become viruous and the invisible hand of the market is free to enrich those who truly deserve it, those with accounts in the Cayman Islands.

    • Randy Hollenbeck says:

      Garth, you are correct with Thompson and he was a taxer. I have even stated as much Zach in the past. Just like Bush was a big goverment type.

      • Zach W says:

        And yet “small government” Scott Walker raised fees as well.

        I look forward to you criticizing Walker for raising fees, Randy.

        • Randy Hollenbeck says:

          But Zach I admit I was wrong already before you made the comment that I am not always right.

          You are correct, fees are not taxes so no issue!

          BTW, are fees ever taxes?

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