March 01, 2006


The Privileged Many

...It’s amazing to see how many “privileges” that we’re afforded by our glorious government officials. The most recent privilege has occurred in Virginia, where, starting in 2007, owning a car will be considered a privilege and a tax will be collected so that automobile owners can show their appreciation. It used to be that driving a car was considered a privilege; now owning it is the privilege. What’s next? A “maintenance privilege tax” when you need to buy new tires or a muffler?
...This isn’t anything new, however, nor is it something that is occurring in only certain areas. For instance, Arizona citizens must contend with a “transaction privilege tax” which is imposed on all sellers and vendors. The Arizona state government thinks that its citizens are afforded a “privilege” by them to engage in purchasing goods and services with their neighbors.
...Pennsylvanians must deal with a local tax known as the “occupational privilege tax.” Municipalities which use it say that workers should consider themselves lucky to be permitted to work within their borders. Anyone employed in that particular jurisdiction must pay the tax, whether they live in the municipality or not. Denver, Colorado, has a similar tax.
...Tennessee implements a different take on the occupational privilege tax, calling theirs a “professional privilege tax.” Tennesseans who might be accountants, architects, attorneys, pharmacists, and veterinarians are subject to forking over $400 a year as a way of saying “thanks” to the Tennessee government for permitting them to work in their field.
...Alabama levies a “business privilege tax” for, as quoted directly from their Website, “the privilege of being organized under the laws of Alabama or doing business in Alabama.”
...Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has devised an “institution and service privilege tax” which is levied upon any organization operating under a non-profit charter or established as a non-profit organization providing services to the public. Apparently the officials in the steel city see charitable organizations as their own form of charity.
...There are more privilege taxes throughout the nation, to be sure, but we don’t need many more examples to see two distinct problems. The first, and most obvious, is that when non-governmental entities force people or businesses to pay a fee in order to continue their legal acts it’s called extortion, punishable by time behind bars. When municipalities do it, it’s a privilege tax.
...The second problem is that the governments which use such taxes have adopted measures that resemble the worship requirements of organized religion. By slapping the “privilege” label on things and charging a fee for acts that were otherwise thought to be part of everyday life (i.e., selling a product or holding an occupation to put bread on the table), it appears that government officials have determined that they’re benevolent overseers who have granted us these “rights.” Having attended church on a regular basis as a child, I’m reminded of the part of the service where the congregation says in unison, “God is good. Praise be to God.”
...Perhaps I shouldn’t complain since I’m willing to live with our representative republican form of government; the officials that are imposing the privilege taxes were elected to their posts by voters, so the constituents must be happy.
...Then again, maybe I shouldn’t have worded it that way because it opens the door for someone to legally bring back poll taxes. All that they would have to do is call it a “voting privilege tax.”


Blogger Legally Insane said...

e-mail might be on that list as well.

there is some grumbling about an e-mail delivery tax on bbc news at:


what's next? a blog posting tax?

March 07, 2006  
Blogger J.P. said...

A “blog awareness privilege tax.” You’ll have to pay the state a small fee to show your appreciation since you know what a blog is.

March 07, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home