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cop.bmpWhen I order a meal in a restaurant, I expect to be handed a bill. I’ll even give a generous tip for good service. But I don’t expect to have to pick up the check when a cop shows up at the scene of an accident, or a fire fighter drops by to put out a blaze. Yet such fees are becoming more prevalent as municipal governments struggle to balance their budgets without raising taxes. Insurers are fighting to discourage what they call “double-taxation,” but it might be a losing battle as the economy tanks.

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