Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, October 15, 2007
Several years ago, I was bought out of an employment contract (which basically means that I was sacked but with a really nice severance). So at the end of that year my little family had a significant hunk of extra income on our balance sheet. Now understand that I wasn’t complaining then and I’m not complaining now, but that income pushed us up a bracket or two tax-wise and THE &$%@^#! GOVERNMENT WAS TAKING MY MONEY!!! I never felt so Republican in all my life….
Just goes to prove what may seem like a decent idea in the abstract can turn out to be devil’s very own work when it affects you personally. Democrats as a whole are perfectly willing to raise taxes. (Just as Republicans are willing to make cuts.) But when it’s your money that gets taxed or your service that gets cut, well, that just ain’t right. “How did this happen?!” is a legitimate question to ask. But be prepared to get “with apparent randomness” as the answer.
Earlier this month, Michigan’s legislature in a crazed flurry to stave off a state shutdown put together a package that applied the state sales tax to certain services heretofore exempt. It is quite an eclectic list: office administration, landscaping, carpet cleaning. It’s also terribly confusing: Why tax skiing and not golf? What exactly constitutes “personal care services”? Why does “warehousing” and “mini-warehousing” both need to be specified? This week’s comic is my attempt to provide some context….
Oh, and the asterisk is meant to lead you to a translation for the Latin phrase. It’s an extra dig at the legislature whose own taxes and services remain untouched.