Death and taxes inevitable, so why complain?
People complaining about a doubling of the $10 photocopying fee for vital records in the city clerk’s office need to get a life.
The city is broke, or haven’t they heard? How do you balance the books when you’re broke, your contractual expenses are rising, you’ve whacked away at your budget and you can only raise taxes so much (thanks to political realities or a state-imposed cap)? You start getting creative, coming up with new taxes but giving them new names, like “user fees” (as the hypocrites at the state have repeatedly done; as Brian Stratton did with the garbage “fee”).
The additional $10 to have the clerk make an instant photocopy of a birth/death/marriage certificate is being called a “priority fee.” If you want it on the clerk’s time, about two weeks, you still have to pay, but it’s only $10; if you want it faster, you pay double.
Americans pay added fees for all kinds of extraordinary services. They pony up $60 extra for expedited passport processing, for example. They pay the post office $5.15 to send a letter via Priority Mail. They pay their airline $10 or more for “early-bird” or some other form of priority check-in. So why should they complain about having to pay an extra $10 to get a death certificate on demand if it enables them to collect tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of life insurance right away instead of having to wait a couple of weeks?
Maybe it didn’t used to cost extra for it, but times have changed — haven’t they heard? — and it does now. Don’t make such a fuss about the city doing it when everyone else has been for years.