Americans facing new taxes, fines for smoking, bullying and slow driving

It seems that millions of Americans will be taxed or fined for just leaving their homes. A new report has highlighted a slate of new taxes and fines for a lot of acts across the nation, whether it be shopping, purchasing a green vehicle or bullying someone, that become enforceable today, the first day of the fiscal year for a majority of states.

One of the latest fines to capture national headlines is the “bullying tax” that has taken into effect in the small town of Monona, Wisconsin. Under the new law, which has been official since May 30, bullies over the age of 12 can be fined $114 for their first violation and $177 for any following violation. If the situation calls for it, parents of children under the age of 18 can be fined for their child’s terrible behavior.

The anti-bullying law is aimed to address playground bullying, neighborhood disputes and cyber-bullying. Law enforcement officials say no tickets have been handed out yet one month into the new law.

Another new law, which is part of the “road rage” legislation, targets slow drivers in the state of Florida. Motorists who are driving slow in the fast lane can be fined $60 if they are caught 10 miles below the speed limit. This applies to slow motorists on multiple-lane roads and highways.

Local authorities confirm that the ticket would have the exact same effect on the person’s driving record as someone who is caught speeding. Of course, higher insurance rates will also be the major effect for the slow driver.

Over in Virginia, those who are interested in owning a green vehicle can be expected to fork over an annual fee of $64 as well as various registration fees. The proponents of this new tax say owners of electric vehicles utilize the roads, but don’t pay their fair share because they are able to evade purchasing gas and its effective tax, which is then funded for road repairs.

Minnesota smokers have to be prepared to pay higher prices to indulge in their expensive habit. The Gopher State doubled the state’s tax on cigarettes from $1.23 to $2.83 for every pack purchased. Although it is the sixth-highest in the country, New York still maintains the highest with $4.35 for every pack.

Residents of the North Star State will also dole out more cash for iTunes and ebooks. As part of a new law that targets digital downloads, individuals will be charged a sales tax on various ebooks and iTunes purchases. For example, if someone wishes to buy a $9.99 ebook then an additional 69 cents will be added to the bill.

Shoppers in Arkansas have been discouraged from consuming goods at the local shopping mall. Legislators have increased the sales tax by 0.5 percent to 6.5 percent.

What’s interesting is that the first day of the fiscal year has just begun, but many states are either mulling over new taxes, fees and other “revenue tools” or have just signed into law new taxes or tax increases to raise funds for their budget shortfalls. Ohio, for instance, passed a bill that will hike both property and sales taxes.

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