Septic tanks. Toll lanes. Vacant houses. High school athletic contests. Marriage. Beverage bottles. Nurses.

What do they have in common?

All were pitched by state legislators as a way to raise money for state government.

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Since 2009, Americans for Prosperity has tracked 39 different bills that would levy a fee or tax on variable aspects of life.

"Lansing has a spending problem. Politicians have spending problem," said Scott Hagerstrom, director of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Prosperity. "The only way they can spend money is to find it from somewhere else. What they'll do is try to find a little money here and there. What they don't understand, anytime you take money out of the economy, that's less money for citizens to spend.  Politicians feel they have first rights to those dollars."

"That's just not acceptable anymore."

Among the bills proposed in the last 18 months:

Senate Bill 45  - sponsored by Republicans Patty Birkholz, Jason Allen, John Pappageorge and Roger Kahn - creates a government bureaucracy to oversee inspections of septic tanks. Home and business owners would be responsible to pay the fees.

House Bill 4142 - sponsored by Democrat Shanelle Jackson.... Would have the owner of a vacant house pay a $100 registry fee for each building. Failure to register would be a $1,000 fine.

Senate Bill 54 - sponsored by Democrats Mickey Switalski, Ray Basham and Gilda Jacobs - would expand the deposit fee to include all beverages except milk products.

House Bill 4252 - sponsored by Democrat Coleman Young - would establish toll lanes in highly congested urban areas.

Senate Bill 229 - sponsored by Democrat Mickey Switalski  - would impose a $1 fee on tickets to any statewide high school athletic event. The money would be used for drug testing of student athletes.

House Bill 5593 - sponsored by Democrat Alma Wheeler Smith - would increase the annual license fee for registered nurses by 50 percent from $20 to $30.

House Bill 5305 - sponsored by Democrats Mark Meadows and Fred Miller - would double the marriage license fee from $20 to $40. 




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Emmet County Commissioners are spending millions of dollars on lavish ambulance stations and an observatory to gaze at stars. The projects are being funded by a bond issue that bypassed voters.

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