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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Every breath tou take

As long as there are governments, there will be ever-more exotic ways to raise revenues and/or taxes:

Need a few million dollars to fill a budget deficit? Lease a toll highway, like Indiana and Virginia did; or lease toll bridges as in Alabama; or cash in on future lottery profits as a half-dozen states are considering. You could slap a tax on pornography as six states already have, or tax strip joints like they do in Texas, where they call it a "pole tax."

Some states take a slice out of pumpkin sales at Halloween. And most states tax Shaquille O'Neal and Barry Bonds when they visit, using a "jock tax" on professional athletic events.

Amused? That will cost you, too. Many states collect an amusement tax for live performances.

"They range from the outright crazy to the absolutely insane," said Nate Bailey, of the nonpartisan Tax Foundation based in Washington. "People at the local level already feel overtaxed and politicians, in a somewhat spineless way, look for a hidden way to increase revenue without raising taxes."

The underlying theme, though not quite acknowledged in the story, is that the natural progression is for government to grow. And the bigger it gets, the less honest the money-raising is. We go from, "Here are our plans, and this is how high the tax rate must be to fund them" to "Let's just get money any way we can, then spend it all."

Makes casino gambling seem downright tame.


Bob G.
Tue, 01/29/2008 - 3:55pm