Parent Advocates
Search All  
The goal of ParentAdvocates.org
is to put tax dollar expenditures and other monies used or spent by our federal, state and/or city governments before your eyes and in your hands.

Through our website, you can learn your rights as a taxpayer and parent as well as to which programs, monies and more you may be entitled...and why you may not be able to exercise these rights.

Mission Statement

Click this button to share this site...


Bookmark and Share












Who We Are »
Betsy Combier

Help Us to Continue to Help Others »
Email: betsy.combier@gmail.com

 
The E-Accountability Foundation announces the

'A for Accountability' Award

to those who are willing to whistleblow unjust, misleading, or false actions and claims of the politico-educational complex in order to bring about educational reform in favor of children of all races, intellectual ability and economic status. They ask questions that need to be asked, such as "where is the money?" and "Why does it have to be this way?" and they never give up. These people have withstood adversity and have held those who seem not to believe in honesty, integrity and compassion accountable for their actions. The winners of our "A" work to expose wrong-doing not for themselves, but for others - total strangers - for the "Greater Good"of the community and, by their actions, exemplify courage and self-less passion. They are parent advocates. We salute you.

Winners of the "A":

Johnnie Mae Allen
David Possner
Dee Alpert
Joan Klingsberg
Harris Lirtzman
Hipolito Colon
Jim Calantjis
Larry Fisher
The Giraffe Project and Giraffe Heroes' Program
Jimmy Kilpatrick and George Scott
Zach Kopplin
Matthew LaClair
Wangari Maathai
Erich Martel
Steve Orel, in memoriam, Interversity, and The World of Opportunity
Marla Ruzicka, in Memoriam
Nancy Swan
Bob Witanek
Peyton Wolcott
[ More Details » ]
 
Crash Taxes Alarm the Public
Such so-called "crash taxes" are an alarming trend in the 41 states that have not banned the practice. At present, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee are the only states that don't allow these so-called crash taxes. Illinois lawmakers are even considering legislation that would allow municipalities to bill up to $250-per-hour for emergency services that are already funded in part by taxes. It's also being considered in some California towns.
          
   Cary Feldman   
Apr 6, 2010 10:45 pm US/Central
Man Billed 'Crash Tax' For Emergency Response
LINK

If you call 911 after an accident, you may be taxed.If you get into a car accident and 911 is called, you may get billed for the emergency response. Cash-strapped communities are sending out bills to cover the costs of fire trucks responding to crashes. As CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini reports, often times it does not matter whether you caused the accident or are the victim.

Cary Feldman received one of these bills last summer. He was driving his motor scooter in Chicago Heights when he was struck from behind. He was fine, but someone else called 911, and a fire truck was sent to the scene.

Feldman says it was unnecessary.

"There was no fire, there was no explosion, there was no debris," Feldman said. "From what I saw, they came, they saw, and they left."

The fire department then sent him a $200 bill for that fire truck response.

"We're paying taxes for these services," said Feldman. "We don't need to have a second tax."

Motorists across the country are calling these fees a "crash tax" -- alleged strong arm tactics angering many, especially when the accidents they are being billed for are not their fault.

Nine states have created laws banning these fees. Illinois has no ban on these so-called "crash taxes."

In fact, pending Illinois legislation would allow municipalities to charge up to $250 an hour for an emergency response.

Illinois Representative Karen Yarbrough is working on this issue and wants the pending legislation killed.

"Bad bill, very bad bill," said Yarbrough. "This is just another way to reach into a consumer's pocket."

"I think the State of Illinois needs to take some actions to stop this from happening," said Feldman.

Aside from the cost, there is concern that people will be afraid to call 911. That's what happened last month in South Carolina. A couple tried using a hose to put out their house fire in order to avoid being billed by the fire department.

Once you're billed, as Feldman learned, there is no process to fight it. There is no court date. You just have to pay the fee, or the consequences.

"They've been harassing me," said Feldman who tried to get Chicago Heights officials to drop the bill.

He says that instead, officials were, "sending me letters and they even turned it over to collections without sending a final notice."

He finally paid the $200 to avoid credit rating problems.

"So this is what I call extortion. This is how they get you to pay it," Feldman said.

The person who hit Feldman was also billed, but only $100, because he lives in the community. Feldman says insurance would not cover the bill.

Chicago Heights Fire Chief Thomas Martello says they do not charge these extra fees for house fires. The chief also says money is tight and departments are using creative funding methods.

Matteson and Park Forest are examples of two other communities that bill for emergency response.

Naperville and Schaumburg are examples of communities that do not bill extra for fire truck services.

Some communities only bill the offender. And there are communities that only bill non-residents, those who live in other towns, figuring their residents already pay taxes on local services.

"I'm going to call it a scam," said Feldman. "Just a way to make money instead of helping people."

LINK

If you are involved in or are a witness to an accident, what's the first thing you should do? Call #911, right? While we're certainly not advising against using the emergency service, making that call may wind up being rather costly to either yourself or the victim. Proof of such can be seen in the case of Cary Feldman, who was traveling through Chicago Heights, IL on his motor scooter when he was stuck from behind.

As CBS 2 Chicago tells it, a witness to Feldman's accident called #911, as you might hope and expect them to do. "There was no fire, there was no explosion, there was no debris," according to Feldman. "From what I saw, they came, they saw, and they left."

Still, the Chicago Heights Fire Department responded and examined the scene before they left. Shortly thereafter, Feldman received a bill for $200 while the person who hit him, who lives in Chicago Heights, got a bill for $100.

"Crash taxes" are an alarming trend in the 41 states that have not banned the practice.

Don't think you can just avoid the issue by not paying. Feldman reports that officials were "sending me letters and they even turned it over to collections without sending a final notice... So this is what I call extortion. This is how they get you to pay it."

Such so-called "crash taxes" are an alarming trend in the 41 states that have not banned the practice. At present, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Tennessee are the only states that don't allow these so-called crash taxes. Illinois lawmakers are even considering legislation that would allow municipalities to bill up to $250-per-hour for emergency services that are already funded in part by taxes. It's also being considered in some California towns.

Not everyone with a vote in Illinois thinks the would-be law is a good idea. Representative Karen Yarbrough (D – 7th District) calls it a "very bad bill," adding, "This is just another way to reach into a consumer's pocket." Chicago Heights Fire Chief Thomas Martello suggests that such methods are necessary in response to tight budget constraints and says that house fires won't incur an added bill.

Feldman remains unconvinced that the tactic is appropriate. "I'm going to call it a scam," said Feldman. "Just a way to make money instead of helping people." So, we ask you: Good, creative way to ease tight budget constraints for emergency services, or just another blatant money grab?

Paying extra for emergency responders: the 'crash tax'
2:10 PM Fri, Apr 09, 2010, Nicole Stockdale/Editor
LINK

As bad as Dallas County's budget problems are, just be glad they haven't tried this stunt: billing people per hour for emergency response.

Last summer in Chicago Heights, Ill., a man driving his scooter was hit by another vehcile. He was fine -- but someone else called 911. The Fire Department responded, but with nothing to really do quickly left. But the scooter driver still got a $200 bill in the mail.

The scooter driver, Cary Feldman, was irate: "We're paying taxes for these services," he said. "We don't need to have a second tax."

I'd have to agree with that sentiment -- not to mention that it could deter some people from calling in necessary emergency responders because they're unwilling or unable to afford the extra fee.

Think that's absurd? A South Carolina couple has already proved the point: Last month, a woman's house caught on fire but instead of calling 911, her boyfriend turned on the garden hose. They didn't want to pay the extra fee from the Fire Department. (Of course, they didn't understand that it wasn't residents who were required to pay the fee there; it was insurance companies. Oh, and the rule had been repealed.)

But, wait -- there's a Texas angle here.

It seems pretty obvious to me that a "crash tax" or "fire tax" is a bad idea. I'm not surprised by the outrage greeting these ordinances.

But before we Texans pat ourselves on the back too quickly, I'd argue that the state has had a similar law on the books since 2003, when the Legislature passed driver surcharges to help shore up a tight budget.

This means, for example, that if you're caught driving without a valid driver's license or without insurance, you pay your regular fine listed on the ticket -- and then you receive your surcharge bills, $250 a year for three years. For a first offense with drunken driving, you pay $1,000 a year for three years, $2,000 a year if your blood alcohol level is high enough.

It's time the Legislature ended the Texas Driver Responsibility Program -- and not just because so few people are paying. Because it's bad public policy.

'Crash taxes' add hefty fees for aid
It's bad enough to be in a car accident, but getting billed for the police and/or fire department response can make matters worse. And your insurance may not cover that.
By Peter Lewis, msm.com
LINK

Imagine you're cruising down the road when you hit a patch of black ice and slide into a guardrail. A passing motorist calls 911. Soon firetrucks and police arrive.

Weeks later, a $1,400 bill does, too -- for the cost of the police and firefighters who answered the call. What's worse, it's not covered by insurance, and it might scar your credit if you ignore it.

Sound implausible? It's happening in a number of towns, cities and counties in at least 24 states. And given today's cratering economy (and property-tax revenue), more strapped local governments may be tempted to authorize so-called accident response fees.

Private vendors that promote such programs show up at city council meetings and police and fire chief conventions with model ordinances and fee schedules in hand. The vendors typically take a 10% cut of what's recovered.

Though five states (Georgia, Indiana, Missouri, Pennsylvania and Tennessee) have banned "crash taxes" outright, insurers, lawmakers and vendors are squaring off elsewhere, even setting up warring Web sites such as Municipal Fee Facts and AccidentResponseFees.com. Who's caught in the middle? Drivers like you.

That'll be $2,200
Two years ago, Luke Gutilla lost control of his motorcycle along a road in Richland Township in Cambria County, Pa. He suffered a leg injury and was taken by ambulance to get treatment, which his insurance covered.

Several months later, Gutilla received a bill for nearly $2,200 for the services of seven firefighters, an assistant chief, two fire vehicles, three police cruises and three officers. The bill also itemized things like "brooms and mops and things that were just kind of strange," he recounted recently.

 
© 2003 The E-Accountability Foundation