Monday, May 5, 2008

May 5, 2008—Let’s Have a Tax Revolt


Consider This for May 5, 2008—Let’s Have a Tax Revolt

The other night I got hungry and had an urge to get Kentucky Fried Chicken. That one only hits me about every six months so no problem with the various potential side effects.

I bought the $11.99 eight piece bucket. The voice at the other end of the ordering speaker told me the total was $12.92. I had to wait a minute at the window for my order and was considering the fact that there was almost $1.00 in sales tax for an $11.99 meal.

I asked the young lady at the window for a receipt and then came home to calculate the tax on my chicken. The tax was actually 93 cents which was 7.75 % of the original price of $11.99. That is 11.625 cents per piece of chicken.

Later that night I was watching the 10:00 p.m. news and listened to a report that the City of Lakewood had eliminated their sales tax on food. They did that in response to the looming world food crises and to reduce the burden on their citizens during these hard economic times. What a great thing to do for your taxpayers.

I remember many years ago that there was not a sales tax on any food items. Then the law changed and the state allowed local governments to tax food if they chose to do so.

I know that most Summit County residents feel that the majority of sales tax is paid by tourists. That is true if you look at the bulk of the tax collected but we all pay sales tax. Even the so called undocumented illegal aliens pay sales tax. You can’t avoid it.

In fact if you are poor you pay a higher percentage of your income in sales tax than if you are wealthy.

There are three levels of government in the United States: the Federal Government in Washington D.C.; the Colorado State Government in Denver, and local government consisting of your town government, your county government and special districts.

The Federal Government gets most of its money from income tax. Yes there are other things like gas tax and tariffs but I want to keep this simple.

The State Government gets most of its money from sales tax and income tax. And yes there are other places the money come from but remember the key word, simple.

Local government, the county and the towns, gets most of its money from property tax and sales tax. The special districts make their money through a property tax and fees. Some special districts never collect any property tax while others collect a lot. The biggest property tax consumers are the school districts.

Now here comes the rub. Colorado has one of the lowest property tax rates in the nation. Those of us who have moved here from other states know that is very true. So when you complain about your tax bill maybe you should go back to where you came from and check out those numbers.

With the majority of our permanent population in Summit County not living in any town the disparity becomes even greater.

This is not always true but it does happen. If you buy something from Eddie Bauer, Sears, Land’s End or any other catalog or on-line retailer and the item is either shipped or mailed to an address indicating a town (They all do.) then that company will automatically charge you town sales tax and pay that tax back to the town. That is taxation without representation. I have complained to the towns and they just smile and walk away.

The Department of Revenue told me that there isn’t an address data base to indicate where people live and it only shows the address where they get their mail. Remember the Boston Tea Party? Maybe it is time to dump this process in Dillon Reservoir.

Or to lessen the burden on our year-round permanent citizens and taxpayers let’s remove the sales tax on food for a start. That sound you just heard was the three towns with big box grocery stores gasping.

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