Beach tag fees going up — Here’s an idea for NJ
As you know I generally support what would be considered "User Fees."
If you are the one using the product, service or location, the burden for funding should be placed at least partially on you.
That doesn't mean people should pay through the nose to spend a few hours enjoying the beach and the ocean.
It does mean that the cost of lifeguards, beach and boardwalk maintenance, additional policing, restrooms and trash collection.
The question isn't whether the money needs to be collected and spent, the question is who should bear the brunt of the cost.
Without beach tags, the local homeowners and retailers are paying the taxes to offset the cost.
Meanwhile thousands will use the beach while locals bear the cost to keep the beach maintained.
Doesn't seem fair does it?
In places like Florida there is a year-round tourist season where travelers are paying taxes through their hotel rentals and there is no doubt that it helps offset the cost of the beaches.
In places like the Outer banks, I don't recall all of the beaches having any maintenance at all, let alone lifeguards.
In Jersey, there's a life guard every few blocks, the beaches are raked and trash is collected daily.
That costs money! If there's a better idea than the tag to offset the local taxpayer burden, I'm all ears!
In the meantime, a good friend of mine had an idea to address the issue of people living at one beach and traveling to see friends at a nearby spot.
You shouldn't have to buy additional tags just to get to the beach to meet friends for a few minutes.
The idea is a universal tag that would be accepted across NJ shore towns.
The state would sell the tag online through an app and it would be a scanned QR code.
Towns would opt in and collect a fee from the state for each tag sold.
The money collected through the tag would be used to offset local costs of maintaining the beaches.
It's a great way to market the Jersey Shore across the Delaware and the Hudson.
The increase in beach tourism would be a boon for local retailers and restaurants who rely on a very short season to make up their year.
That in turn would contribute to tax revenue for the state and local communities.
It's a simple but effective idea.
The Department of State in NJ runs the Tourism and Travel division which would be responsible for the implementation.
Common sense, practical ideas are what the state has been lacking for decades.
It's time to focus on responsible, effective government that will increase economic activity, make life a little easier and affordable and deliver services to the people footing the bills.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Spadea. Any opinions expressed are Bill's own. Bill Spadea is on the air weekdays from 6 to 10 a.m., talkin’ Jersey, taking your calls at 1-800-283-1015.