Abolish Hospital Parking Fees
Six Rivers Editorial
What is worse than paying to park your car? Paying for parking at a hospital.
Having to pay for parking is a serious pain in the first place, but at a hospital? Give me a break!
People do not generally go to a hospital willingly. It is more likely that you are either a patient or a visitor, and neither should have to pay for parking at such a time of stress.
Yes, I say stress because even the visitor is stressed at such a time. Surely anyone can sense the tension or even frustration in going to the hospital. That is no time to hold someone's car for ransom, for any price, let alone the exorbitant rates that large hospitals charge.
Prince Edward Islanders, God love them, have abolished parking fees at hospitals, and established a shining example for all other governments to follow. The current island government acknowledged that parking charges pose an unnecessary burden on all who attend hospital.
Hospital administrators will argue that parking fees go a long way to off-setting hospital costs. Some will even boast that such fees may provide certain hospital services. But think back, our sales tax was once called "hospital tax" and it was levied to provide all hospital services.
Charging for hospital parking is nothing more than an add-on tax, a tax on services for which we are already handsomely taxed. Why not have the courage, decency, and honesty to issue one tax for health care and let the true cost be known.
Governments at all levels try to hide the extent of their reach into our collective pockets. At the municipal level, councils have charged deed transfer taxes based on a percentage of the sale price of a property. This is revenue that does not show up on the tax bill, making them feel good that they took more from us without showing it under the spotlight of taxation.
The ruse continues with the provincial and federal governments and their many user fees, registration fees, and a host of other revenue raising gimmicks that lurk under cover of their slight of hand. Just look at all the add-ons charged at our airports, not to mention the usury of their parking rates.
The shame is, the parking fees and all the other gouging techniques do not raise as much money as we might be led to believe. All these additional fundraisers require staff and enforcement. While hospital parking income might be substantial, so is the cost of parking enforcement officers, not to mention the capital and maintenance costs of the sophisticated machinery installed to collect from us.
Governments have become masters at concealing how much they grab, possibly because they are ashamed at how much they grab, and worse, how much they waste.
The bottom line is the taxpayer is the lone source of revenue. We have to pay for the services being provided, along with the largesse of those who contract it. Rather than rip us off through smoke and mirrors, how 'bout some honesty by collecting what is needed up front and stop trying to hide behind nickel and dime stuff along the way?