Judy Skeel, executive assistant to County Manager David Hankerson, needs to either stop speaking for her boss or learn what a user fee is. She claimed that a proposed alcohol tax increase is “actually more of a user fee since the only people that would be paying it are the people that purchase alcohol.” By that logic a gasoline tax is only a user fee because only those who drive a car pay it. And a sales tax is really a user fee because only people who buy stuff pay it.
Actually, a user fee is a charge assessed by the government for some service the government provides. Admission to a park or public swimming pool is a user fee. She can call it a sin tax, or call it a tax on “unnecessary purchases,” or if she’s really honest a less politically objectionable way of increasing government revenues. But don’t try to fool folks that it is a user fee and not a tax increase.