After 15 years of paying, Abram-Village’s Arthur Arsenault thought he would be free of the financial burden of his mortgage this May.
In fact, he will be, but not before the province reaches its hand into his wallet one last time.
Before saying goodbye to his monthly housing expense, Arsenault must make one final $75 contribution to Prince Edward Island’s coffers.
The payment will allow him to officially deregister the mortgage – getting his name off a list of those who hold a mortgage in the eyes of the provincial government.
Apparently it’s important. It must be for $75.
While no one likes to pay taxes (and make no mistake, government service fees are nothing more than a form of taxation) it has become a reasonable request for governments mired in debt and deficit to require a specific fee for a specific service. But even for those among us who accept service fees as necessary – albeit unpopular – the questions raised by Mr. Arsenault are valid.
The fee has to be justified and in this case it seems grossly inflated – some would argue gouging.
Does it really cost $75 to remove a name from a list? How much time and effort is expelled by the public servant in doing so? Is there some expensive, specialized equipment required?
Since we doubt the process takes much effort, time or equipment, perhaps the fee should be minimal. How about $1 minute? Just kidding, but how about something more reasonable or, failing that, a detailed justification of the actual cost.
This is far from being the only government fee that has a cost that far outweighs the actual service provided.
Even sadder is the fact that we are in a position where government departments feel this is the best way to meet budget. In fact the whole issue speaks to a much greater problem; one that isn’t going away. As taxpayers we are ‘the province’ and we’re spending more than we’re bringing in.
It’s past time for a look at every penny of government spending, because some day soon the gravy train is going to run out of track. Our wants outweigh our means and there is no magic money fairy.
It’s bad news when an already overtaxed population still can’t manage to pay its bills, even with inflated service fees.