Apparently the Utah County Commission is considering charging sex offenders a yearly fee. While I have no sympathy for people who commit sex crimes, this type of fee doesn’t make sense.
The fee is permitted thanks to a bill passed by the Utah Legislature. The state already charges sex offenders $100 annually and the new law allows local police departments to tack on their own $25 fee. Like much well intentioned legislation, this could cause more problems than it will solve.
The idea behind the law is to allow police departments to recoup some of the administrative costs of dealing with keeping track of sex offenders. But there are administrative costs associated with virtually every type of crime. Fines are already levied on criminals so this seems redundant.
If police departments are worried about the paperwork load, one wonders why they would want to tack on the additional task of keeping tabs on which offenders have paid their fees and which have not. And if someone doesn’t pay the fee, will he be dragged into court for that offense as well?
I am aware that most government agencies are facing revenue shortfalls and they are trying to deal with that problem by coming up with creative ways to raise money. But at some point government at all levels must stop all the insidious fees. Trying to make it seem palatable by charging sex offenders, or smokers, or boaters, or rich people doesn’t resolve the underlying issue.
Let me be blunt. The government does not need any more of my money or anyone else’s. Government could save a lot of money if it stopped passing regulations that require more and more bureaucracy to administer those regulations.
Many ordinary people are currently in dire economic straits. Unemployment is high and in many cases those who still have jobs must get by on much less. Unfortunately, they can’t resolve their financial problems by charging the government a fee every time a crappy bill creates more unnecessary regulation.