As state coffers run dry across the nation, politicians are looking to tax anything they can.
In Maine, House Majority Leader John Piotti has proposed a 5 percent state tax on, among other things, comedians, clowns, jugglers, ventriloquists, petting zoos, paintball and haunted hay rides.
“People make fun of the bill, saying we’re taxing clowns and that kind of thing, but that’s not the way to look at it,” Piotti told CNNMoney.com. “It’s a comprehensive change and we’re doing it in a very smart way.”
Yes, very smart - if your goal is to hurt small businesses and make your state a laughingstock.
Angelique Steelgrave, who works with her husband as a full-time magician, told CNNMoney.com that the tax will have a major negative impact on small entertainment businesses like hers.
“We hate the idea,” she said. “Not a lot of businesses these days have the luxury of raising prices 5 percent, and in a lot of cases, this could be a serious amount of money we would either have to charge clients or eat ourselves.”
Hey, if these guys really wanted to up the tax on clowns, couldn’t they just chip in a little more out of their own pockets?
(Hat tip: Mises Economics Blog)
There has been much chest thumping regarding illegal immigrations in recent years.
The latest salvo in this politically driven battle is a new law passed in Arizona that, among other things, will require immigrants to have proof of their immigration status and requires police officers to “make a reasonable attempt” to determine the immigration status of a person if there is a “reasonable suspicion” that he or she is an illegal immigrant.
Don Boudreaux of George Mason University writes at Cafe Hayek that while it is true that having Hispanic immigrants slip through the backyards of Arizonans at 3 a.m. is indeed a problem, adding to the already severe immigration restrictions already in place isn’t the solution.
Boudreaux suggests that Arizona take a completely different course of action and consider opening its borders to the same degree that America’s borders were open until as recently as the mid-1920s.
With such openness, there would be no need for immigrants to stealthily steal in to Arizona in the dark of night. There would be no massive wasting of taxpayer resources on the surrealistically counterproductive task of preventing these alleged welfare-seeking, public-goods-destroying sponges from working legally and paying taxes. (More than half of Arizona’s new statute is aimed at stopping “illegal” immigrants from finding jobs in that state. What does this fact tell you?) Crime rates would fall as immigrants would come out of the shadows and have greater access to legal, gainful employment.
It’s an interesting idea, but don’t expect it to get any traction. Politicians know they can get a whole lot more knee-jerk votes by railing against “illegals” than they can by actually working toward solving difficult problems.
Besides, illegals can’t vote, so they’re a convenient target.
The fact is, most individuals who enter this country illegally work rather than go on welfare. Certainly, when illegal immigrants successfully make their way into the country and find work, it’s unfair to those that take the legal route and attempt to abide by the country’s immigration laws.
But to imply that most illegals enter our country simply to get on the dole is ridiculous. They come for opportunities and freedoms that simply don’t exist in many other parts of the world.
If we were liberalize our immigration policy, these individuals would likely be quite content to work and pay taxes, and they’d be grateful for the chance to do so.