Tax Laws and the Land of Foo

Comments (0) Business, Entrepreneurs, Finance and Money

Foo—the place between the possible and the impossible—a place you can only access where streets corners don’t line up. A place that is a bit uneven. Enter the state of Nebraska’s need to meet the requirements of federally mandated sewer improvements with bills over $1 billion.

Mayor Jim Suttle regurgitated a previously suggested idea to tax toilet paper at the federal level to help pay the bill. This most recent dive into the fantastic realm that allows governments to hope, imagine and dream is called the “toilet paper tax.”

Although this kind of proposal isn’t new—a similar measure was brought before the House in 2009—it does painfully bring to the forefront that there are very little places for states and government to go in order to bring in additional funds to pay for what we consider basic services.

A tax on toilet paper to help fund sewer improvements seems to be the ultimate in consumption tax law at the federal level.  As Suttle asked, “How are we affording this…as we come out of the recession?” in his attempts to come up with an equitable solution to funding the $1.7 billion bill for federally mandated sewer improvements.

According to Kay Bell, with MSN Money, “…the levy doesn’t discriminate against one segment of taxpayers since everyone (we hope!) uses the bathroom tissue.”

Quoted by Robert Nelson, John S. McCollister, executive director of the conservative think tank The Platte Institute says, “User fees seem the fairest type of tax. The person receiving the benefit should be the person paying for that benefit.”  Nelson continues to say, “If I am liberal with my toilet paper use, I’m jamming up our sewers. So, with a tax specifically on toilet paper, I pay more for use of that public utility.”

The tax would definitely make a New Jersey pilot’s test run for a football game expensive: he chucked rolls out of the window of his small plane to prepare for a streamer drop at a football game.

But for now, the conversations and commentaries on the toilet paper tax seem to have accomplished Suttle’s goal that the “…comment was more for shock value” than a real proposal.

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