The University of Iowa Medical Center is eliminating free parking. It had been paying the University itself about $1.2 million a year to cover patient parking costs. Now, I assume, the university will simply collect the money directly from the parkers.
Everyone is horrified at this change, but “THE ECONOMY” had mandated that it be done.
Why not just good practice? Why not because parking costs money and that cost should be borne by those who use it? This is government’s problem. They can’t figure out how to charge people for the services they provide.
If you are going to build a building, or remodel your kitchen. You need a permit. And you will pay, usually an amount relative to the size of the job. This is to pay for the inspectors to come out and be sure your new sink doesn’t jump out of the counter when the garbage disposal is turned on.
If you go down to city hall and ask for a copy of your deed, or marriage license, or divorce decree, you get it, for a fee. Similarly if you want to get a driver’s license, or take the bar exam, or some such other you vs the city event. I will say that the amount charged is probably not enough to cover the costs and should be higher but I won’t, for now.
So why is it so disastrous to charge for parking? It creates a huge expense. Costs many hours of labor, and often is surrounded in hubhub and hubris. But the hospital has been picking up the cost of parking to the tune of over a million a year. Where did that come from?
I’ll tell you where – The government was awash in money a couple of years ago when things were spinning, so they decided to provide free services. Now times are hard, particularly for governing bodies, so they are looking for places to find income. Parking does come to mind.
If the government had spent wisely when they had money, lowered taxes and fees, and put some money aside for a rainy day, then when the downturn came, all would have been well. However they spent like drunken sailors and, well, California is the poster child for the result.
Everyone is wringing their hands over the ‘cuts’ that are having to be made to meet our budget. But I guarantee you that the average citizen won’t be affect one darn bit. The most affected will be those employed by the state and local governments who will have their hours reduced or lose their jobs.
The street in front of my house hasn’t been repaved in 25 years. The fire station will not be closed. Cops will still have cars, parks will be open. Sure, perhaps the parks will have to be mowed every other week, and overtime may be cut back and it might take two days to get the pot holes filled.
I’m in a cynical mood…