Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

No Way Is This the Land of the Free
by James Glaser
August 31, 2007

I do believe if you live out in the woods of Northern Minnesota, you are about as close to being in the Land of the Free as you are going to get in these United States. If you use your talents and take God's given natural resources and make something and sell it, about all you have to do is collect the State Sales Tax, and pay whatever income tax you owe.

It isn't that way down in here in Florida, especially in a city like Tallahassee. I don't care what kind of business you are conducting, you will need a City License and a State Sales Tax License. If you have any tools, Leon County will tax you on your business equipment. If you hire an employee, even if it is for one day, your are supposed to report that to both the State and Federal Government. If you want to call your business a name like the Taco Shack, you have to pay a "fictitious" name tax. (The State doesn't call that a tax, they call it a registration fee.)

For sure you don't want to hire an employee, because then you have Worker's Compensation, and you have to worry about Federal Income Tax Withholding and Social Security Tax. Then there is Federal Unemployment Tax, and if you decide to form a corporation to protect yourself and your family from lawsuits, you have more taxes and license fees.

Up North I had a well and septic tank. We had a volunteer Fire Department and the gas and electric companies were co-ops, and they paid you back money from the profits they made each year. Some years the gas company paid back 11%. Here in Tallahassee you pay for fire protection, sewer, electric, gas, water, and trash pickup. which are all included in your utility bill. Of course on top of that you have to pay rent or a mortgage payment on your building, and let's not forget about insurance.

Here in the Land of the Free, you'd better not try working a business out of your home because that is against the law. In rural America, many home businesses support families

I am writing this article because I am opening a gallery in Rail Road Square, down here in Tallahassee. I am renting the space, and it is small—about 500 square feet. Because it is in Rail Road Square, I was thinking of doing a Rail Road theme and calling the place Depot Agent's Gallery. Well you can't do that without paying the State a fee and filling out some paper work. Then you have to fill out paper work with the city, and the county, and the State.

I guess I'll have to incorporate, too, and that probably means paying an attorney to help with the paperwork. I am a wood worker, and I love it. I could continue to sell what I make through galleries, but they want 50% of the selling price as a commission. When I started out doing this, galleries only took 25%, and they worked hard to sell your work.

Times change, and so does the cost of doing business. I believe all the hassles that I am being forced to go through to open for business will pay off in the long run. I sure hope so, because there are a lot of them.

Free JavaScripts provided
by The JavaScript Source

BACK to the Essays.