Free? Should the public be charged a fee for access?

After reading through the comments and knowing some of the fee structures that we have in the state, I'd like to propose a question and what I think the answer should be.


The question: Should the public be charged a fee for information?


Currently, some services are fee based and that supports the build out of the service in the first place. It's especially common in areas when the contractor built the service at little to no cost to the state with the knowledge that they are building a revenue stream at the same time. But is that a sustainable and desirable model?


I believe we need to be careful in what we charge for and how we assign "value" to a service. If anything, the public should be charged a pass-through for fees the service costs to run and nothing more as the public and public information shouldn't be a profit center.


I understand that we (the collective we) have battered government agencies with the "why can't you think more like a business" line for decades. However, I believe that that comment meant the decision making process and not creating business opportunities for internal and external organizations.



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Idea No. 15