Economy has spawned ideas


As a journalist, it is my absolute obligation to inform my readers of any information that could impact their lives. With that basic tenet of my profession in mind, I’ll now share a little tidbit with the general public.

Coastal Point • Jesse Pryor

Apparently, the economy isn’t doing so hot.

I know. I know. It’s a tough pill to swallow, and you might be shaking your head right now and muttering, “That bald guy’s crazy. Nothing’s wrong with our economy.”

Of course, there are problems. Foreclosures and unemployment rates remain high, retail is struggling as consumers are tightening their belts and the travel industry is taking it hard to the chin. And towns, counties and states are all seeing their governments face financial difficulties with the loss of additional taxes and transfer fees.

Which brings me to my point...

Kristi Keck wrote a story for cnn.com the other day that caught my eye. She discussed how some states have been getting ultra-creative in coming up with new revenue, and highlighted a few of the more interesting methods.

California State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced a bill earlier in the year to legalize marijuana, and then tax it to the tune of $50 per ounce. If that passed, it could have brought in an estimated $1 billion a year in state taxes — presumably $500 million of that from Snoop Dogg alone. It was put on hold, but could come back next year in a different form.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

A state senator in Georgia proposed a “pole tax” of $5 for every person that walked into a strip club. That was not approved by the powers that be in Georgia, but I still find myself chuckling at the thought of the state paying for major roadwork with a giant pile of crumpled-up dollar bills.

We know about Delaware trying to expand its gambling arena to make ends meet, and word came out earlier this week that the NFL and other governing sports bodies had filed suit to block the state’s efforts to permit sports betting.

Seeing as how a few NFL teams have worked out deals over the past month to put their team logos on state lottery tickets, I just can’t seem to get past the word “hypocrisy.”

One of my favorite ones in Keck’s article was the proposal by Wisonsin Gov. Jim Doyle to triple the price of an elk hunting license.

Wait for it ...

Wisconsin has no elk hunting season.

In Virginia, both the state House and Senate voted to increase the daily rent of inmates from $1 to $5. The governor vetoed the bill, requesting that a cap of $3 be installed. No word in the story as to whether or not utilities are included in that cost.

And the state of Kentucky has new legislation that puts a tax on cell phone ring tones. So, just remember, boys and girls, if you’re trapped in the hills of Kentucky, and hear “Dueling Banjos” coming at you from behind a couple trees, that is just a source of revenue for the state that you hear, not necessarily a revival of the film “Deliverance.”

With the spirit of saving the budgets of several states in mind, I’ve come up with a few ideas of my own ...

• The Favre Tax — If Brett Favre says he’s going to play for a team in your state, the state can tax Favre $100,000 for every time he waffles on his decision. Actually, that tax will be divided amongst all states for the emotional pain of having to read and hear more about Favre. I swear, if one more meat-headed columnist even mentions Brett Fav...

But I digress.

• The Big Jerkface Tax — If a CEO of a company that is bleeding money gives himself an enormous pay raise, half of that increase goes to construction workers standing on various street corners looking for day work. And the workers are also permitted to give the CEO a wedgie.

• The Dougnut Tax — I’ve been on a diet, so everybody that eats a fresh, delicious doughnut that’s warm right out of the oven and melts upon that first bite...

Was I saying something?

• The Obvious Tax — If a newspaper runs a story about the bad economy on the front page of every issue, or TV or radio station opens with it in every segment, tax them for being boring and circling people’s fears like vultures.