Province continues to
By Liz Dadson
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If you haven't been paying attention to the latest hike in provincial fees and rates, you have likely missed this one.
I know I did.
Actually, it was a series of omissions, beginning with forgetting to renew the vehicle licence validation sticker on my car.
The provincial government has a wonderful way of slamming you on your birthday by sending you a present in the mail - your validation sticker renewal. I had received it and then promptly buried it under a plethora of other mail.
I was blithely driving hither and yon with expired plates, totally oblivious to the fine I would face had I been pulled over by the police.
A month and three days after my birthday, I uncovered the piece of mail regarding the renewal of that validation sticker. And with some alarm, realized I hadn't paid it.
I also realized that it was the Remembrance Day weekend so the vehicle licensing office would not be open again until Tuesday - a full three days away.
There's nothing like feeling like a criminal to make you wary of cops. I was sure one was going to pick me off before I raced into the licence office Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. with my form and my $74.
Then - the one-two punch. My $74 which had served me well each year for the past few, was not enough money. The cost was now $82 - what?
Yes, apparently, the province needs to dig itself out of debt on the backs of hardworking motorists like myself and many others who depend on their vehicles for work.
Great. I was about to shell out the additional $8 when the lady at the counter told me that the cost was going up another $8 in January, 2013, and yet another $8 in January, 2014.
What? When was this decided?
Apparently, the erstwhile Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty and his gang of fools have decided there's money to be made in the vehicle licensing industry.
Yes, not only is your validation sticker increasing in price, so is your driver's licence renewal - to $80 from $75 starting next year. Driving exams will cost more, as will the cost to replace a lost licence.
Good news for the Liberal government, though, all of these price hikes will bring $340-million per year into the provincial coffers by 2014-15, to help maintain Ontario's roads and bridges.
Critics say motorists are already paying enough. Ontario drivers pay an estimated $15-billion per year in taxes and fees, of which the province takes $9.6-million, says the Toronto Automobile Dealers Association.
Association spokesman Frank Notte says is best: "The family car is a necessity for millions of Ontario families and is often the second most expensive purchase a family will make. Governments should do all they can to keep the cost of owning and operating the family car affordable, and that means no new taxes or fees associated with vehicle ownership."
More importantly, these fee hikes are just one more slap in the face of rural Ontario which has no public transit, so people depend on vehicles to get around.
And then there's the high price of gas ... but don't get me started.
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012