In the past few years, most state governments have been steadily increasing their sin tax rates. Legislatures initiated these taxes because they wanted to curb immoral behavior like smoking or drinking alcohol, or so was their excuse. Now they find the sin tax as a convenient way to increase tax revenues without causing public outcry. This is especially true of tobacco taxes. It is much easier to upset only a portion of the population — and any reaction against the tax comes from an already stigmatized group. Who wants to be near a smoker or a drunkard, after all!
But what is the greater evil, having a beer while fishing or abandoning your wife? Which screws-up more children, dad having a cigarette or having to choose between him and mom?
In most jurisdictions, it has been decades since divorce filing fees have seen any significant increase. In my county, it costs a modest $111 to file for divorce. But at least it is a few bucks more than the marriage license!
Approximately 40% of marriages end in divorce — and these numbers are significantly higher in jurisdictions short on tax revenues. Why not increase the filing fees to $500, $1000, or $2500? Call a spade a spade, divorce is a sin. And for those who are uncomfortable with making judgement on others, just call it a bad thing, like smoking.
For you elected officials, it is time to get serious about the budget shortfalls. Divorce costs your state and local government lots of money. And, no, I am not talking about court costs. Divorced families are drastically more likely to be on the welfare rolls. When mom and dad split, the cost of housing doubles — the #1 expense in most households. That means less money for food, for healthcare, for clothing, etc. — leaving state and local governments footing the bill for most of the added expense.
If you are going to foot the bill for their irresponsibility, at least make them ante-up. Increase divorce filing fees. $2500 is a good place to start.