User charges make government information services cost more.

User charges raise unnecessary barriers to government information.

Citizens don't like user charges.

User charges constitute double taxation.

You've probably heard all of these arguments before. Indeed, user charges are often deeply mired in controversy.

So why should governments even consider user charges as a funding source for information technology projects? Because -- despite the controversy, despite the opposition -- user charges can make extremely valuable IT projects a reality, and they can often do so in ways that not only quiet the opposition but garner broad support from satisfied citizens. In short, user charges are pragmatically useful, extremely under-utilized, and often simply the right thing to do.

Well

Jerry Mechling  |  Contributing Writer