Fishing for Tax Dollars

Having seemingly perfected the art of taxing people who travel into the City by automobile (evidenced by the nation’s highest parking tax and a possible additional fee on all day parking), amendments made to the new Act 47 plan would explore ways of wringing money out of the boating activity that takes place on the three rivers.

The City could pursue state reimbursement for River Rescue calls; it could also try to explore the feasibility of charging boaters for services rendered or a mooring/launching fee. The Plan notes that many boaters are non-residents, so keeping in the spirit of trying to find ways to tap commuters, non-residents, and visitors for money, the City has floated these boating revenue options. The latter options would certainly affect the tourism and water taxi businesses that the City seems to value and has attempted to nurture along.

There is no fiscal impact estimate of the proposals for either the current fiscal year or the five year forecast. Nor is there any indication that the revenues would act as a user fee with monies tied to improving a specific boating or recreational activity (much like state fish and boat license monies are used for dedicated purposes). But it is safe to say that a fee would result in the City less of the activity that it sees on the rivers currently.

Thankfully the City did not mention the possibility of constructing floating toll gates, and no word on whether the air space around the City limits is targeted for a fee of some type.