Bully - Bullies can now get fined/tickets
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By MELANIE HICKEN

From bullies in a small Wisconsin town to slow drivers in Florida, people across the country are facing a variety of new taxes and penalties.

In Monona, Wis., home to about 7,500 residents, bullies (and their parents) can now be fined under a new law that has been in effect since May 30.

Under the law, all forms of bullying and harassment, ranging from schoolyard tussles to cyber-bullying, can result in a fine of $114 for a first violation and $177 for any subsequent violations. Anyone 12 and older can be hit with the fine. In extreme instances, parents of kids under the age of 18 can also be fined for their child's bad behavior, although they must receive a written warning first.

The law wasn't just written to curb bullying at the playground. It's also meant to deal with adult issues like neighborhood disputes, said Monona's Police chief, Wally Ostrenga. So far, no "bully tickets" have been given out.

The so-called "bullying tax" is just one of a series of new local and state taxes, penalties and fees that consumers are facing. And many of them take effect today, the first day of the fiscal year for most states.

In Florida, pesky drivers who are plodding along in the fast lane can now be ticketed and fined $60 under a provision of a larger highway bill that takes effect today.

The so-called "road rage" law makes it illegal for motorists to drive more than 10 miles below the speed limit in the left lane of a multiple-lane road or highway if another car is coming up behind them.

The ticket would have the same effect on a driver's record as a speeding ticket, said Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Jeff Frost, which means it could also lead to a higher insurance bill.

Slow drivers and bullies aren't the only ones taking a financial hit. Here are some of the other new taxes and fees going into effect across the country:

Lighting up: It just got more expensive to be a smoker in Minnesota, which is more than doubling the state's tax on cigarettes from $1.23 to $2.83 a pack.

The state now has the sixth highest cigarette tax in the nation, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, although it still pales in comparison to New York's tax of $4.35 per pack.

iTunes and e-books: Also in Minnesota, consumers will have to pay more for digital diversions, under a new state sales tax on digital downloads that takes effect today. A $9.99 e-book purchase, for example, will get charged 69 cents in sales tax.

Shopping: In Arkansas, shoppers will face a state sales tax hike of 0.5%, which brings the state rate to 6.5%. The hike translates to an additional $3 in sales tax on a $600 big-screen TV.

Green vehicles: Being green doesn't pay in Virginia. Under part of a state transportation funding bill passed this spring, owners of hybrid and electric vehicles will have to pay a new $64 annual fee on top of car registration fees. Supporters of the tax argued that drivers of these green cars use the roads, but escape paying the gas taxes that help fund road repairs.

Hitting the road: Just in time for summer travel season, many consumers will face a higher price at the pump in at least five states, ranging from California to Maryland, which hike their state gas taxes today.

While gas taxes are bemoaned by drivers, Scott Drenkard, an economist at the Tax Foundation, said they are actually good tax policy since they help fund road upkeep and repairs.

"They help connect users of roads with the costs of driving on those roads," he said.

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41 Comments

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toosmart4u

The GOP in Michigan, oops Michississippi said no new taxes. They have raised more taxes in one year than all the democrats put together. All in the name of new jobs which none has come into the state because of the new fees and taxes. Taxed the senior citizens too.

July 03 2013 at 4:54 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toosmart4u's comment
Keith

LOL, a demcorats is complaining about more taxes.........

July 03 2013 at 7:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
crusader626

bottom line, what can we tax new, thats all they keep doing, none of these taxes will do any good, its all about greedy goverment digging up more money to waste and spend. no tax is good, people keep re electing the same jerks into office, thats the problem.

July 03 2013 at 1:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom

Heavier taxes on cigarettes, but not alcohol? That'll teach those smokers to quit pounding down a carton and killing a family on the highway. Maybe they will also stop smoking a few packs and beating the wife and kids Where are our priorities. Why do we ignore real problems while trying to please activists? Don't give me the crap about paying for their medical bills. You pay more for alcohol related diseases and accidents..

July 02 2013 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jrexmarda

So now some bully will point to someone and say, he's ruining my life, he'll put on his little nervous seizure act, and some poor kid trying to mind his own business is going to be fined $114.

July 02 2013 at 9:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pkatcher

havet osay whatsTRULY amazing we are paying the lowest FEDERAL taxes in DECADES....states had t oincrease their taxes t omake up for the lower FEDERAL sharing program....yet every perso ncomplained about GOVERNMENT as if it wasFEDERA L TAXATION....also interesting MOSt of the increased state taxes are in REd states as the lower incomes are relfectng lower taxes...increase minimum wage increase tax revenue decrease welfare and food stamp needs....

July 02 2013 at 9:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
michael

highest paid harrassing bullies in the state HUH..no laws no rules..

July 02 2013 at 7:10 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Nekima

So you buy a green car to save money and the government decides to tax you for saving money, THIS COUNTRY IS SO DESPERATE FOR MORE MONEY TO SPEND.What a JOKE the US has become. We are counting the days till we leave in the near future!!!!

July 02 2013 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Nekima's comment
ljnace

Don't let the door hit you in the azz on the way out.

July 02 2013 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kafienkarl

War(s) cost money.

July 02 2013 at 9:09 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
mikemlockier

Your government will soon be taking your full paychecks and giving you back whatever they see as fit...

July 02 2013 at 5:22 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mikemlockier's comment
george

already do.

July 02 2013 at 6:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
chnvlly

I think we should tax politicians every time they open their mouth, $100 for each word. I'd suggest taxing them only if they were caught lying, but like the saying goes, if their mouth is moving they are lying so let's just go straight to the source of revenue. Our entire country would be out of debt inside a year.

July 02 2013 at 4:23 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chnvlly's comment
Nekima

Since WE are the PEOPLE and do have a say in OUR country WE need to stand together and force a tax like this on the government.

July 02 2013 at 5:27 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Nekima's comment
karmarind

vote

July 02 2013 at 5:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down
Mike

Gas taxes fund road upkeep and repairs? That's why the roads in New Jersey cause your car to "shake, rattle and roll".

July 02 2013 at 3:51 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply