Death and taxes inevitable, so why complain?

Wednesday, October 17, 2012
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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.

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October 17, 2012
9:33 p.m.
myshortpencil says...

Don't waste your time with Gazette editors. Go read the ultra liberal Times Union editorial on this issue at

"Sure, an extra 10 bucks isn't so much money. But the insult is that a death certificate or a birth certificate tend to be records that people typically have to have when they have to have them. This idea reeks of taking unfair advantage of people."

It's flat out unethical to take advantage of the dead and the mourning, especially when death certificates are required by other levels of government. What a scam.

October 18, 2012
7:52 a.m.
fjcjr says...

"Thanks to political realities or a state-imposed cap". Neither of these things matter, because as our elected officials have shown, in a non-election year, they will vote whatever increase they want without listening to opinions of the electorate, and as long as a the legislature has a voting block majority, the tax cap is easy to override.

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