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Because many new state and local laws kick in this month, it’s a good time to check out the financial consequences of what your lawmakers have been up to lately.
Some things are to be expected, like increases in gas taxes. Others are a bit more unusual.
For instance, teen bullies can now be fined in Monona, Wis., whether the behavior happens at school or online, CNNMoney says.
First-time violators will pay $114, while repeat offenders will pay $177 per incident. In some cases, parents may be fined separately after a written warning. Here are some other new fees worth talking about:
- In Florida, poke-alongs in the fast lane now face fines. Traveling more than 10 miles per hour under the speed limit in the left lane when a car wants to pass can trigger a $60 fine, which can also affect insurance rates just as speeding tickets do.
- Smokers in Minnesota may have to sell a blackened lung to get their nicotine: The state’s cigarette tax is more than doubling to $2.83 per pack.
- The rest of Minnesota isn’t off the hook, either, because they now have a digital downloads sales tax. A $10 e-book will cost an extra 69 cents.
- In Arkansas, the state sales tax is rising to 6.5 percent.
- Eco-conscious (or gas price-conscious) Virginians who own hybrid or electric vehicles will pay a new annual fee of $64 to help maintain roads. Other drivers already pay gasoline tax.
Many of these new fees might have been better debated or even avoided if consumers had known about them sooner. Now people may have to find out the hard way. Any frustrating new fees on the books in your area? Share the bad news on our Facebook page.