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Double Taxation For Emergency Services

June 8, 2012 by  

Double Taxation For Emergency Services
In some places police or fire response to a fender bender is going to cost you.

In some cash-strapped municipalities throughout the country, residents are being double taxed to raise money to help fund local police and fire departments.

According to MSNBC, municipalities in as many as 34 States have taken to charging motorists for police and fire response to the scene of an accident. The fees can range into the hundreds of dollars.

The fees, dubbed “accident response fees” or “crash taxes,” are usually billed to a motorist’s insurance company. But in some cases a collection agency winds up trying to collect from the individual.

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies is among the insurance organizations working to do away with the fees. Joe Thesing, assistant vice president-state affairs with NAMIC, says that insurance policies usually don’t cover non-medical accident response, so the victims end up footing the bill.

“These fees are a form of double taxation applied only to responsible citizens who follow state law and carry auto insurance,” Thesing said. “It’s our belief that responding to investigative accidents is a function of police and fire departments supported by local taxes.”


Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Harold Olsen

    For at least a decade (maybe longer) I’ve heard about cities planning on charging citizens for emergency response, in spite of the fact that taxes already pay for this. I read where one city, or town, in California, back in the 80′s I think it was, actually said that they would begin charging people who called the police for help. The person would have to pay the officers upon their arrival. It they didn’t, the police would leave and not address their emergency. Apparently, the first time this happened, a law suit was filed against the city and they quickly backed away from this new policy.

    • Michael D. Howard

      They should charge for certain actions: Avoidable situations where a person could do something reasonable, simple and apply common sense to avoid the emergency should be charged for. That will make people more responsible. In 1976 or so I helped to formulate charging for prehospital care by fireman. Why? Because the medical care given helps to lessen the overall costs that would result if a persons’ condition had not been treated by advanced medical care in the field. Private ambulance companies always charged.

      Fire fighting operations should be billed whenever the causation could have been reasonably avoided and extra ordinary effort was required to suppress the fire or remediate the situation.

      Costs for personnel should be reasonable. In LA County fire roles to much equipment for medical emergencies. 2-3 pieces plus private ambulance. I worked for years in the field as a first responder in various venues. It is not necessary. 75% of the fire department calls in US cities are EMS.

      It has turned out in too many cities to be a make work program to justify equipment and manpower i.e. it givens reason to maintain all that fire equipment that just sits around on a regular basis. The equipment is necessary the fire department is a standby organization that needs to be well equipped including the personnel. However even here US departments should adopt the German/European model so that every area is covered by manpower and proper modern equipment. Remember they use lots of volunteers and it is mandatory to participate.

      Simple solution for EMS calls is to equip fire departments with 3 person ambulance units and use fire bikes like most of Europe and Asia has been doing for years. Fire bikes require 1 person and 1-2 gallons of water to knock down many fires. Also they so can quickly act in EMS situations. A mix of public and private (by contract) would cut overall costs to the taxpayer and get paid for on top of it without large taxpayer costs.

      Particularly if departments large and small would adopt policies similar to those used in the medical profession. One possession should be for a trainee who is going exclusively into the medical field and whose position is paid for by tuition grants of money. That money has to be paid back or give free public service. We already have the programs in place. Agencies have students who spend 1 to 2 year giving service in which they get room and board and get money towards their education at the end their term of service.

      Bottom line is YES they should charge for some things. But they need to be more efficient and cost effective. Unfortunately most US agencies are just collecting this double tax to continue support and advance their blotted and outmoded manner of operations.

      • independant thinker

        “Avoidable situations where a person could do something reasonable, simple and apply common sense to avoid the emergency should be charged for.’

        One BIG problem with your idea. Who is going to determine what was reasonable, simple, and commonsence? I would gather it would be the government and they will ALWAYS err to their benifit in a major way.

  • Congress Works For Us

    Our local suburban safety department does this, but it only bills non-residents. If you’re a tax-payer in the district you are not sent a bill and neither is your insurance company. I have no problem with this at all.

    • JDN

      Congress I would have a problem with it as almost all police depts recieve federal money that is paid by everyone . Now if your dept refuses all federal funding and grants ( which is unlikely ) that would be a different story . Seems that paying once is never enough for some.

  • smash44smash44

    Excellent idea. it’s about the sub-moronic idiots that somehow passed their driving tests with IQs below 50 are getting charged for driving like retards. Accidents are basically preventable, but the ignorant, arrogant, Americans who drive continue to tailgate, speed, disregard stop lights stop signs and yield signs. They deserve to be charged. And before you all go and call me uber-liberal, I’m 99% certain I’m more conservative that the rest of this bunch. i just despise irresponsible and ignorant drivers.

    • Chester

      For sure you are a conservative, as you managed to out Tea Party the Tea Party.

    • http://GOOGFLE CLYDE


    • http://GOOGFLE CLYDE


    • Nadzieja Batki

      Make sure that you are never, ever involved in an accident.

    • iratd

      If you want to bill some one, bill the DMV, they give out the license to drive.

  • kategray

    You are already paying their salaries through taxes, TAXATION again, the is why AMERICA broke away from England because of taxation.

  • Steve E

    Just don’t pay them. Throw the bill in the trash.

  • dufas magnet

    “It’s our belief that responding to investigative accidents is a function of police and fire departments supported by local taxes.”…

    Indeed, when they begin to ALSO charge for these services they then become for profit, private organizations. This was never the goal.. Never our intention. It makes one wonder, where is the tax money going for these institutions?

    • R. Gilez

      Hail Socialism… Police and Fire protection HAVE indeed been already paid for by our

  • s c

    This shouldn’t come as any surprise, folks. Then again, you need to remember that every day we’re taxed by cities, counties, states and every April 15th Uncle Scam taxes us yet AGAIN. While we’re at it, EVERY time the Fed prints more money, the dollard gets raped again (a silent, indirect tax?). Is it not yet time for Amerika to resolve to find ways to compensate for the daily taxing ORGY that we’re supposed to endure and ignore?
    In case you haven’t thought about it – yet – our government is properly defined as a rapacious, under-worked monster that needs to have its teeth kicked in and its body mangled and cut down to size [NOW]. Part of that process includes seeing EVERY boob we send to Washington as just another career criminal who needs our votes and our money. If nothing else, we owe it to ourselves to growl every time Uncle Scam holds out his sold-out, self-serving blood-stained hands for another “bribe.”
    At some point, Uncle Scam will have to reveal his true character, and it will be the 18th century all over again, and the old fart will be seen as the “new” King George. Kindly realize that if YOU don’t see it happen, your kids W I L L .

  • Arlo

    Soft Billing is practiced by my township fire department to offset the cost of the medical supplies used and wear and tear on the equipment. If your insurance company does not pay or you can not afford it no big deal. My township has asked for a levy once since 1996. The Trustees and the Firefighters Union have worked hard to keep cost low and to maintain a high level of service.

  • Cheryl

    This is a good thing to bring to the public’s attention. I live in Allentown, Pa and we have had this tax for 2 years. It is based on where you work. If I would have worked closer to Philadelphia, I would have been exempt from the tax for Allentown but anyone else who may live closer to Philly and works in Allentown gets hit with this tax! What a rip off. The Mayor said he had to tax those who not only live here but also work here because the treasury was being reduced by out of town folks who had accidents and didn’t have any insurance coverage to pay for the emergency services they used. Since when is the insurance industry required to pay for non-emergent ambulance transport to a hospital?
    We have some of the highest taxation in Pennsylvania on our homes and businesses.
    It is time for all governments to WAKE UP and STOP breaking the back of the home owners who pay the majority of the taxes in this country!!!


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