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

It Is Still The Same... It's Tax Time
by James Glaser
March 13, 2009

Everyone told me how nice it was in Florida because they don't have a state income tax down here. Let's face it, if a state doesn't have a income tax, they are going to get you some other way. Down here they have very high real estate taxes, and there are lots of city, county and state business taxes.

It is still the same down here. You still have to keep records, and you have to file your federal tax forms. After you do that, even if a state has an income tax, they are easy to file. The state calls for the same record keeping as the federal government does.

This week I am doing my taxes. I really thought I was all ready, as I have kept good records all year. However today as I was putting everything together I found a box with about 30 receipts I had missed. They were from almost every month, so I had to put them in, recalculate the totals for each section they went, and then figure out new totals.

While I was doing that I was having the same question pop into my head that I have every year at tax time. Why do people like capitalism? I know why they liked it before we had an income tax. You made something or you bought something, and if you could sell it for more than it cost you, you made a profit. Why they like the system we have now is a mystery to me.

It doesn't work that way any more. Now on top of the cost of goods sold, there are city and county license fees, and then there is a state sales tax. Instead of making it easy and having an even number, the state puts the sales tax at 7½ %. Some things are taxed and some are not. If you pay your sales tax late, there is a minimum penalty of fifty dollars. Even if you have no sales, and you file a day late, there is a fifty dollar penalty. On top of that, if you work hard and make money, the Feds take their cut.

Business isn't fun. Even after the day is over, you have to do paper work, or you set one day or a big part of one day aside each week for paper work. If you work hard and prosper, you end up hiring a person or persons just to do your paper work.

A lot of very smart hard working people stop working for themselves because of the paper work. They choose a career they like doing, but the government's paper work makes it not worth doing. They then go out and get a job, usually in a different field, and maybe their passion or skill for a trade is done on the weekend as a hobby.

I believe that is why we have fewer inventive people in America today. A person can't try to make a living doing what they want without being bogged down with paper work, and that takes all the fun out of doing what you are really good at. How many billions of hours a year are wasted doing paper work for Uncle Sam?

Oh yes, they could make everything easy. Have a big enough sales tax to cover the government's expenses. You buy, you pay a tax. No deductions, no exceptions. That would be easy to understand, and people would have a hard time cheating. Every year at tax time a nice and easy tax code looks better and better. Better for me and better for America.

Flowers and Seeds

It might be coming up to tax time in Florida and the rest of the country, but here in the South it is also a nice time to plant flowers. You might just be a little late if you want to plant vegetables like tomatoes, because it will be very hot when the plants mature, but flower planting time is here now.

That is so fun for a guy like me from Northern Minnesota. Up there, you don't plant until way at the end of May and then you have to worry about a late frost. All the plants in the seed catalogs that you could never plant up in zone 3 are ok down here.

I can remember Charmaine walking out to the garden every day in late May, taking off her shoes and socks, and walking in the tilled soil. Every day she would say, "NO, not yet," until one day that soil would feel just the right temperature, and we would start planting.

Tomorrow, I am planting about a million wild flower seeds in front of our place. We have already planted herbs and have started using the basil and parsley. I always prided my self on getting the first ripe tomato in Northome. It would be a hoot to get one here, before people can even put a plant in the ground back there.

So I guess I have to take the good with the bad. Figure out my taxes and plant flowers.

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