The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Driver license fees:
A new tax

Oct 6, 2003

The Michigan Department of Transportation announced higher fees for drivers' licenses, as well as much higher fines for having more than six points for traffic violations.

Seven million drivers will now pay $18 instead of $13 for renewals. New licenses jump from $13 to $25.

Governor Jennifer Granholm says that the state's deficit has to be paid off and these fees are one way to do that. In fact, it's just another type of tax, but the type of tax that is the most regressive. It takes away a much greater part of the income of a poor person than of someone rich. Everyone has to have a drivers' license. But $25 means a lot of groceries to someone on a tight budget. To a millionaire, it's a joke.

Granholm took office following Governor John Engler, who gained national notoriety with his policies of giving to the rich and taking from the poor. Engler's subsidies to rich developers, bankers and corporations were the cause of Michigan's current huge deficit. Rightfully, the deficit should be erased by cancelling or rolling back those subsidies.

Instead, the new governor Granholm says and does nothing whatsoever against Engler and his policies. She resorts to the most unfair kind of taxes and fees, in addition to threatening state workers with layoffs and wage cuts.

Voters may have thought they were getting rid of Engler, but it looks like only the face is new. The protection of the rich goes on as before.