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Houston suburb's 'crash tax' going into effect soon

Residents of the Houston suburb of Missouri City, Texas, are up in arms about a new fee enacted by city lawmakers that many are afraid could leave car accident victims footing the bill for their own treatment. The new expense, lovingly referred to as the "crash tax," would see residents paying for the first responders that respond to accident scenes.

Starting March 1, people who are involved in auto accidents could start owing between $500 and $2,000, depending on how bad the accident is. The fee is designed to cover the costs of having emergency medical and fire workers respond to accident scenes. But officials are trying to spin the costs as necessary to cover the city's budget deficit and noting that it won't have a big impact on citizens.

  - Article By Richard Weaver

Officials say that the fees will not be assessed on drivers who are not at fault, but that does not seem to calming many people's fears. Additionally, the bills will be sent to people's insurance companies, but many worry about what will happen if the insurance company refuses to cover the bill. The city expects to rake in about $50,000 a year from the new fee.

What galls many residents about the new fee is that taxpayer dollars already cover emergency services, so what are they new costs needed for? Imagine being involved in a hit-and-run accident and because the responsible party can't be located that you are stuck with the bill that your insurance company refuses to cover. How is that fair?

People who are involved in accidents through no fault of their own should not be stuck with extra costs. Hopefully more area towns do not pick up on this idea.

Source: KHOU, "'Crash tax' raising eyebrows in Missouri City," Drew Karedes, Feb. 20, 2013

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