Disgusting greed

A small city in Northwestern New Mexico demonstrates one of the many evils of government, especially in 21st Century North America.

This particular evil is GREED. Which leads directly to STEALING.

Let me explain:

The city has had a 3% excise tax on motel room rentals for more than 20 years. According to a radio broadcast on KENN, the town is now considering strongly doubling that tax to 6%. (This is on top of sales taxes of the city, county, and state.) When added to state and other local taxes, that means that a room rate of $39.95 will cost close to $50 – for tourist, businessman, or persons forced from their home due to fire, flood, etc. In the past, the money has been used (so it is claimed) to pay for promotional advertising of the city: getting people to come visit and stay at those motels and hotels, eat at the city’s restaurants, and such touristy things. Of course, what that REALLY means is that the tax pays for the salaries of bureaucrats (who run the tourism promotion program and manages contractors who actually DO the work), and goes to the contractors: a variety of private businesses who provide such services (including radio stations, I might add).

These kinds of taxes are popular with municipalities because their voters have very little taken directly out of their pockets by the taxes, and those who pay these extorsions out of pocket are virtually never residents of the community. The argument is, pretty much, “I’d rather have the city steal from someone out of town that I probably don’t know, rather than from me and mine.”

(That is, of course, incredibly selfish and short-sighted selfishness, to boot. In reality, the community pays for much of that tax on the tourists: indirectly and through missed opportunities. And because the tax supports parasites (many of whom are NOT part of the community).

So nobody really fusses much about the growing greed of cities and counties (and special districts and states and a lot of other government). In this case, the City claims that they need more money for “other things” so the doubled-revenues will not just go to the usual beneficiaries. (Ah, but we are assured that it will be spent for good causes.)

But clearly, we have a huge amount of greed, because it seems that there are constantly cities and towns that are boosting their sales taxes. And especially these sorts of special lodging or tourist taxes.

It is, again I state, greed and part of the galloping growth of government.

Consider, with inflation and economic development, a city of 10,000 with gross retail sales of $100 million per year, with a 4% sales tax in 1999. That is income of $4 million per year. Jump forward 2 decades. Now that town has 15,000 people, but due to inflation and economic growth, the gross retail sales is $200 million per year (an additional 50 for growth and 50 for inflation). At 4% the sales tax receipts would now be $8 million per year. Even with inflation, that is still a next increase of about $2 million. (Using my simplified back of the envelope calcs.) But the city has now increased its rate from 4% to 6%. Which means that sales tax receipts are now not $8 million but $12 million. Going into SOMEONE’s pocket.

Inflation “naturally” raises the sales tax receipts, so there should be NO need to increase the rate – even if there are increased costs due to larger population: that too naturally increases the take. EVEN if part of that population increase is the homeless and welfare takers.

But the greed is unending, as far as government is concerned. Their “need” for revenue is ALWAYS going to increase, and is ALWAYS going to be more than whatever they are stealing from taxpayers at the time.

Past time for taxpayer revolts – not against “some” taxes but against ALL taxes. NOT just against taxes that you or I pay, but taxes that ANYONE pays.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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5 Responses to Disgusting greed

  1. kewpeekid says:

    I mostly agree but here in Wisconsin, cities and villages cannot exact sales taxes. The state of Wisconsin sales tax rate is 5%. It started out as a selective sales tax in 1962 at 3% and was made a general sales tax in 1969. Counties can exact a .5% sales tax and most counties have enacted it. My county of Racine has not.

    Other than that I agree 100%!


    • TPOL Nathan says:

      States fortunately vary tremendously in what sales and use taxes they have, and what types of government can impose them. Most State legislatures put caps on the tax rate that local governments can establish. And some states restrict sales taxes to certain products: one of the most common is for there to be no sales tax on food (at least, not unprepared food).
      Lodging and other “tourist” and “business” type special taxes are usually different and in addition to the standard sales taxes.
      However it is done, it creates a mess for businesses (and individuals) to sort out.


  2. Pingback: Disgusting greed – Rational Review News Digest

  3. Darkwing says:

    I remember a city elected person telling me that it is not a tax, it is a fee.


    • TPOL Nathan says:

      I’ve heard the same lie. To me, if it is money which has to be paid for something that you are mandated to obtain or have, it is a tax – even if they want to call it a contribution, a donation, a gift, or a fee. But I wonder if anyone’s done a detailed study on this kind of euphemism?


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