In my work, I often have to get copies of the deeds and easements of record that encumber a property. My current project is an acquisition of easements on 39 parcels on a run in Lorain County, Ohio. I get these documents because they detail any potential conflicts for the areas of land I am trying to gain rights to.
I'm a captive audience. I have to pay the fee, whatever it is, because I need the information.
In my home state of Indiana, copies are $1/page for deeds. In Ohio? They are $2/page.
Does it intrinsically cost more to make a copy in Ohio than in Indiana? Of course not. Look at the itemization on the receipt:
That extra dollar goes into something called the 'Ohio Housing Trust Fund'. Well, isn't that nice. Here I am, coming to get documents, not even an Ohio resident, and I am taxed to pay for someone's housing in Ohio. If this isn't taxation without representation, I don't know what is.
I guess I can console myself in the knowledge that Cook County Illinois (Chicago) charges $10/page. Yes, that's right 1-0, ten dollars per page. It used to be $50! No kidding. Apparently, Cook County figured out that for that money, you'll go to the title companies for copies, since they have extensive files in-house. The heavens only know what that money is going towards there. But to record a document in Cook County, they nail on a $10 fee for support of rental housing. Anything these governments can do to redistribute wealth, they will do.
I can also console myself that I am reimbursed on this cost. So, get off it, right? Well, that cost is passed on to my client, a utility, who will then pass the cost on to you, the consumer. This is about as hidden a tax as I can think of. It will never show up on any balance sheet. So many ways the state finds to make doing business more expensive- for a good cause, sure- but more expensive all the same.