Join the “fashionista elite” by voting for these Sales Taxes

tax fashion

MOLA:42’s Guide to this Fall’s Tax Fashion Fad

To put it in a way people seem to understand best; “Sales Tax is the New Black.”

Many of our municipalities, such as Fortuna and the County of Humboldt, are adorning themselves with additional Sales Taxes. The City of Eureka, always a fashion leader, shows off their sexy line of “public safety” Sales Tax for many more years of ground-breaking style.

We can nearly all of us join the fashionista elite by voting for these Sales Taxes come the November Election.

“But just how did the Sales Tax become such a fashion stalwart?”

I’m glad you asked because there’s a story behind it.

Once upon a time there was this state known as California. And it was proclaimed by all that California was the “Golden State.” And golden it was whether Republican or Democrat ruled the land.

There the schools were the top in the country, you could go for a fine higher education without going into debt for life, the pot holes were fixed, the police and fire departments were funded and generally the place was the envy of the nation.

Since we started the story with “Once Upon a Time,” it stands to reason this situation did not last. And it didn’t.

Soon people got tired of living in the Golden State… It was nice and all that but a tad too expensive for some folks (mostly the folks who would otherwise have the easiest time paying their fair share), so they prayed for a way to find Relief.

And then… from the heavens… came down a Great Document; it was called Proposition 13… and it was Good.

“Why don’t we just dramatically reduce all the property taxes?” they shouted with glee. “Everybody pays property taxes… they’ll love it!”

“However,” said those with a little more cunning than most, “We must make everybody feel good about cutting their own taxes. Otherwise, they might know they are being greedy and vote their conscience instead of their pocket books.”

“But how?” cried the rest.

“Well boys,” said the wise guys. “We announce that grannies are getting kicked out of their homes because of property taxes. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.”

“We didn’t know there were grannies getting kicked out of their houses…”

“Not really,” answered the wise guys. “Anyway, not all that many. But ask yourselves, isn’t one granny out on the sidewalk one granny too many?”

“Oh yes!” the others proclaimed. “Three cheers for the dispossessed grannies!”

So Proposition 13, despite warnings about how much harm would be done to the Golden State, became the law of the land and saved the grannies. With this done and with joyful enthusiasm they (being on a roll) soon restricted almost every other tax or way to pay for the government except one: the Sales Tax.

The End

Admittedly I simplified the arguments and the events a tad. But that is pretty much how things went down.

“Isn’t it good the property tax is no longer a noose around our necks?”

Well yes; if you don’t believe in paying for what you get.

What we did pay for and get was a school system now ranked among the bottom of the nation, a failing infrastructure, poorly paid and staffed police and fire services and a higher education systgrannyem that is the envy of no one and priced out of the means of most middle class students (those of the middle class who are left).

This is because property tax is how schools, roads, cities, counties and public safety are paid for.

“But the grannies…”

Yes, there were problems with how the property tax was handled in some cases. There was a need for some reform. However, the grannies could have been very well taken care of by much less extreme legislation. The people who were behind Proposition 13 had absolutely no real interest in grannies or in that kind of reform.

Putting up a poster child (or poster granny in this case) was a useful strategy: Look at the current Conservative’s efforts to deny the vote to as many low income people as possible. You can almost hear the battle cry, “It is better to deny the vote to a thousand citizens than to allow one illegal alien to cast a ballot.”

Pretty inspirational, huh?

But also a digression I guess.

Let’s now get into the not too entertaining world of tax categories. When taxation systems are analyzed they are spread along a spectrum from Progressive to Regressive.

A Progressive Tax is where one pays according to one’s means. The rich pay more, the poor pay less.

On the other end Regressive Taxes do not take into consideration a person’s ability to pay.

So, the most Progressive Tax would be the income tax (when properly executed, which it isn’t). Next in line would be Property Tax because people who live in expensive houses tend to have the money to afford to live in them.

On the Regressive end the very worst would be a Poll Tax (based purely on the condition that one is breathing). Close to that is the Sales Tax.

poll taxPoll Taxes (or “head taxes”) can be really tempting to impose due to their simplicity. You say to yourself, “We need five million quatloo$ to stay in the black. If everybody ante’s up just a measly five quatloo$ we’ll be covered.”

Then the riots start.

That’s because the people swimming in quatloo$ pay their five quatloo$ without a thought and the people hovering just shy of starvation must pay their five quatloo$; whether they have them or not.

Sales Taxes are not much better. It all sounds egalitarian, rich people pay more Sales Tax than poor, what can be more equitable than that?

Well, people on the low end pay a much higher percentage of their income in Sales Tax; they have to because they don’t have anything to put into the bank for a rainy day… or have less for that purpose than the well-quatlooed. The poor’s quatloo$ are spent almost entirely in retail.

But for all of that, when we debate Sales Taxes, we are really arguing about the wrong issue. The Sales Tax discussion is actually a diversion:

The question is not about the justice of Sales Taxes in general; but the justice of why the people more than capable of providing a fairer share toward the burden of our government… don’t.

 

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Here’s an interesting detail: The Chamber of Commerce warns us of the much debated danger of a higher minimum wage increasing the cost of the things we buy… and yet they say absolutely nothing about higher Sales Taxes, which are guaranteed to raise the cost of the things we buy.

eureka oops! wrong eureka

Eureka Proud P……oops! sorry wrong Eureka

I guess it’s not a matter of what is being paid but rather who is doing the paying.

 

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Standard Disclaimer: My opinions are my own and not necessarily those of the Tuluwat Examiner. I am not on the staff of the Tuluwat Examiner. I don’t even know who these people are. But it should be noted that due to the recent Supreme Court ruling that Corporations have religious beliefs, and therefore souls; the Eureka City Council will now have council meeting invocations lead by local corporations.

security national

Security National is set to be the first Corporate Vicar of Eureka. Amen

 

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8 thoughts on “Join the “fashionista elite” by voting for these Sales Taxes

  1. Mola wrote, ““Why don’t we just dramatically reduce all the property taxes?” they shouted with glee.“.

    Shame on you. Completely inaccurate. Prop 13 didn’t REDUCE any property taxes. It simply limited property tax increases to something like 1 or 2 percent per year. Revenue from property taxes has increased since Prop 13 was passed, not decreased, and that’s even for properties that have been owned by the same people over decades.

    For example, you buy a home for $20k back then. Next year the value goes up to $25k. Your taxes might go up 25%, as well, because of the value increase. Same goes if the home doubled or tripled in value in a few years. People weren’t expecting, and often couldn’t handle, the increased tax assessments. Thus the cry for Prop 13.

    New home owners start off with much higher taxes as they’re assessed under the home’s price at time of sale. After they buy the home, though, tax increases are limited under Prop 13 just as they are for long term owners. They could still pay considerably higher taxes simply because of the home’s value at time of sale.

    I suppose it should come as no surprise that you would think taxes were reduced. It’s common in this country to of a lack or slowing of revenue increases as cuts.

    It is strange to see you and others’ seeming lack of concern for what prompted Prop 13. Older folks- especially those on limited incomes- literally faced being taxed out of their homes when property taxes skyrocketed as home values went up dramatically.

    Like

    • Then allow me a quote:

      “Yes, there were problems with how the property tax was handled in some cases. There was a need for some reform. However, the grannies could have been very well taken care of by much less extreme legislation. The people who were behind Proposition 13 had absolutely no real interest in grannies or in that kind of reform.”

      So I think I covered myself adequately on that detail.

      Though I am hazy on some points, I do know that many property’s tax rates were reduced back to the rates paid many years ago (to when the property was originally purchased, which in many cases was a fraction of current value).

      Proposition 13 did great things for people (and I might add, businesses) that had owned their property for a few years or more. Those who bought in the upswing of property values didn’t do so well.

      One memory I am very clear on is the municipal tax system for all practical purposes collapsed. The State of California offered up it’s surplus to reduce the blow somewhat but many municipalities (such as Eureka) chose to use that money until it ran out without much thought as to what to do in the long run (some things never change).

      When that money did dry up then things really got interesting.

      In the mean time our courageous tax rebels then went to work on other possible revenue streams to be sure there was no way to recover from the shock Proposition 13 caused our taxation system.

      Again, property taxation practices had faults. Reform was needed. I’ll even add that municipalities in the State of California needed to reform how they spent the money.

      But Proposition 13 cured the patient by shooting it in the head.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m not clear on all the details but I recall the electricity/energy scams of the late 1990s dealt a huge blow to the California state finances.
    Then came 9/11 and the “budget cuts” began, ostensibly due to increased war costs. I think it was really an excuse to attempt to ruin American education/intellectuals: National Endowment for the Arts, universities, public school art/music/sports and on into the curriculum; higher education budgets cut so they hire adjunct staff part-time to make it difficult for large numbers of people to make a living in higher education teaching and research. An entire generation has grown up with this. Then came the housing/investment crisis and now all that money isn’t just in the war budget, it’s gone. The idea of “tax” is such an instant pain for many that it can be hard to consider it, and without knowledge of some history it comes down to whether people like it or whether they don’t like it. What works as governance is lost if no one has studied it. Or if the only people who could afford to study it feel no social responsibility. Now we can reinvent that wheel under worse economic repression and worse access to education. Fortunately we have free online universities like the MIT prof set up, whose name escapes me.. but so many don’t have internet. The American empire was already turning slowly to a fall but things have gone quite quickly. I’ll vote for the tax.

    Like

  3. You’re right.

    Ca. Gov. Davis initiated a $25 billion lawsuit against ENRON’s price fixing, then, record campaign spending by energy corporations bought Schwarzenegger who promptly settled for pennies on the dollar.

    Proposition 13, like so many laws, are sold to the public as “fair” because they apply equally to all….like the laws banning the poor, as well as the rich, from sleeping under bridges.

    Laws apply equally to a flea and a lion are hardly “fair”.

    Business properties need to be excluded from Prop. 13.

    All those empty storefronts, blighted properties, and vacant lots in Anytown, USA are not from the “over-regulation” fantasy that is droned repeatedly by the media, but by laws enabling them to write off losses for years in a shell and pea game that make empty properties profitable.

    In Old Town, there are buildings still registered in Grandpa’s name…that’s been dead for 50 years.

    Taxes are for the little people.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The solution to the empty storefronts is simple: impose a tax on empty storefronts, which cause serious damage to business districts.

      The free market system says that price is set by supply and demand. So according to free market theory, long-term empty storefronts mean that the price has not dropped to match the demand. The only reason prices would not drop, so that landlords could get something rather than nothing, is if they refuse to drop the price because they do not wish to compete with one another. That’s collusion.

      Impose a tax on any storefront that remains unoccupied for more than six months. Make it high, and the storefronts will get rented out quickly, to non-profits paying $1 a month, if necessary. It will be a large step towards restoring healthy streets.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Nicely, done, Mola. Close the commercial property loopholes in Prop 13. The sales tax is a regressive tax. As I have said before, I will be voting “No”.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. There are a multitude of simple solutions to Eureka’s multitude of problems.

    The hard part is finding a “progressive” willing to canvass, educate and register the 70% majority of eligible voters that always abstain.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Tuluwat Examiner | This weeks burnt offering! Again

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