Those of us who are decrepit enough to remember life in the late 1900s can surely attest that there were plenty of ripoffs on the float, back then in the “good” ole days. But jeez…
Every which way from Sunday, here’s somebody trying to siphon your money out of your wallet. I swear ta gawd!
Today I had to register the Dog Chariot. Every year or two (depending on how much you’re willing to pay at any one time), you have to trot your car into a state facility to get an emissions test, for which you have to pay about 20 bucks.
Once you pay, they give you a sheet of paper that you have to use to re-register your car. This year: the tab is $227 and change. In other words, it’s going to cost almost $250 to register a nine-year-old car. For one year.
I find this passing infuriating. Yes, I know: we need to pay to maintain the roads and hire highway patrolmen. But we already pay an exorbitant state income tax. And stiff sales taxes on everything that passes a cash register.
But evidently there’s nothing one can do about it.
For a change, though, this year’s ritual was not the unpleasant production of the past. Used to be, you’d drive in and find a dozen lanes, any one of them with ten or fifteen cars ahead of you. So you get in line and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you wait and you…
…and you don’t have much choice of which line you get into. And this is August. The hottest month of the year in Arizona. (Understand: it was 112 here today…and that was actually a fairly balmy day.)
To my surprise, this time there were not very many cars and trucks ahead of me.
A worker motioned me to a line that had only one vehicle, and it was already inside the drive-thru.
So, incredibly, I didn’t have to wait long at all — only a few minutes.
Get in there…and usually they make you get out of the car and wait inside an uncomfortable booth: hot, stuffy, and claustrophobic.
This year, though, they seem to have done away with those. He didn’t even make me get out of the car!
And…it only took him a few minutes to do the job — not a quarter-hour or more. Forthwith he came back, handed me the paperwork, and said I was good to go!
Hallelujah, brothers and sisters! No hassles??????
Then you look at the paperwork.
The fee to register that nine-year-old vehicle is $227.77.
Can you imagine?
Two hundred and thirty bucks to drive a car I should have traded in four years ago?
Dayum. What do you suppose it costs to register a brand-new Venza? If they even still make them….
I don’t drive that car much. Now that I don’t have to schlep to jobs in Tempe or in Glendale, I rarely have any reason to bucket around the roads. Yeah: I drive to the grocery store, the Costco, and the occasional doctor’s or veterinarian’s office, but that’s about it.
If we had decent public transit here, I probably wouldn’t even own a car.
But we don’t, so I do.
There’s good reason not to feel safe on the city’s buses and trains. Mainly, the transients ride them for free (partly because on the train, no one is taking tickets, and partly because various organizations hand out free bus passes. And o’course, because they’re air-conditioned). Most of those folks are harmless. But some are…not. Many are ex-convicts. Most are drug users. Some are out of their heads with mental illness or the effects of street drugs. So…no. They’re not strangers you want to spend a lot of time with, in elbow-to-elbow seating. Or standing.
And that’s specifically why I don’t ride lovely Phoenix’s buses and vaunted trains.
So here we are in a city — and a state — where public transit is neither very practical nor very pleasant, and those of us who have to drive (that includes almost everyone) gets gouged for the privilege of putting our cars on the road. Don’t forget: this is not the only tax we pay. Gasoline is taxed liberally. Most retail products are taxed at the checkout counter (and points along the way thereto…). Power is taxed. Water is taxed. On and on it goes.
Not that one doesn’t want to support government and public services. But maybe the funds should be used intelligently?
Lordie! One extreme idea after another!