by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
In contrast to a popular belief, Taxes is not a southern state that gave us a Ladybird on hand, worth two George Bushes. However, it is that 800 pound gorilla breathing down our back about this time every year. I grew up in simpler times. There was no sales tax in Minnesota, and the respective state and federal governments would mail your forms and instructions generally by the first week in January. The last time I went to the library, the first week of February, the 1040 instructions had not arrived. The Feds don’t send you a bill, you have to figure out what you owe, or pay someone to do it for you.
Regardless of your political views, we cannot help but read about deficit spending and increasing taxes. Our state has income tax which is related to our ability to earn, and sales tax which is related to our ability to spend. Then there are excise taxes, gasoline tax, a lottery, as well as sin taxes on tobacco, liquor, etc.
What I can’t believe, is why isn’t this enough to support police, fire, education, infrastructure, and Tubby Smith’s salary? I was looking over an ad in the Sunday paper recently. As I mentioned, I grew up in simpler times. I purchased my first set of golf clubs for $14.00. (previously owned by another caddy). There was no sales tax on the sale. That was then, this is now. This particular ad had one of those Taylor Made drivers for a mere $349.00. That is for one club! Sales tax would be in the vicinity of $25.00 … for ONE club.
After I was too fat and old to play hardball, I retired to slow pitch softball. I spent about $40.00 on shoes and a glove. The team had various shapes and sizes of wooden bats. In the early 70’s, we started seeing aluminum bats for about $20-$25 each. The recent ad touted softball bats from $199 to $399. These are softball bats!!! I’m too old, but every softball field will be occupied with leagues this summer. Imagine the sales tax collected on bats, balls, and gloves.
Minnesota has over 10,000 lakes. When I was young we had a cane pole with some line, a hook, and a worm. (I named my worm “Ken”.) Now I have heard you need small hooks, large hooks, high tech line, lures, live bait, a reel, a fiberglass rod, a multi deck tackle box, and a boat. But if you don’t live on a lake, you will need a tilt trailer, bearing buddies for the wheels, and a plug for the lights. Sales tax on the cane pole: about 50 cents. Sales tax on today’s fishing outfit - $700.00.
Last but certainly not least – Bowling. My first bowling ball cost around $20.00, including 60 cents sales tax. Today, a 180 average bowler will generally haul two balls into the center on league night. That number increases by one ball for every plus 15 pins of average. Bowling balls now run between $125 and $250 each. So, even if you only buy one or two a year, you will still add $8 to $20 in sales tax to the economy, not to mention that your league or open bowling fees also include about seven per cent for the land of sky blue waters. Now if you think it’s cool to buy bowling balls online to nip the state out of a couple of bucks, and squeeze your pro shop proprietor out of a reasonable profit, You may see your face on one of those facebook ads – “Find out instantly who is cheating the state and their pro shop”.