OMT One Man's Trash...from Norman Leahy

Friday, April 14, 2006 :::

The Possible Death of the Spanish-American War Tax

Several months ago, I wondered whether it was true that, after a series of court losses, the IRS would be forced to stop collecting and actually refund monies gathered through the 3% excise tax on phone calls. Now it appears this just might be the case. From the WSJ:

The Treasury Department, following a series of hostile court rulings on the way it assesses the federal excise tax on phone service, is working on a plan to stop collecting the levy and refund billions of dollars to consumers and businesses, according to people familiar with the matter.

The refunds could total about $60 billion over the next five years. Though oddly, Congress did try to repeal the tax in 2000. What happened?

Former President Clinton vetoed the measure over budget concerns.

Brilliant. Better to keep an outdated, possibly unlawful tax than not -- think of the budget concerns! Which ought to give at least some in the General Assembly reason to consider whether the BPOL, or War of 1812, tax may have outlived its usefulness. If memory serves, that war has been over (and paid for) for some time. But did repeal make any headway in this session? No. Better to hand out a silly, inefficient and even miserly "sales tax holiday" than deliver on genuine tax reform.

::: posted by Norman Leahy at 4/14/2006 0 comments


"You know what the fellow said: In Italy for 30 years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they also produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love -- they had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock." -- Orson Welles, The Third Man

"The graveyards are full of indespensable men" -- Charles de Gaulle

"Oh, so Mother Nature needs a favor? Well maybe she should have thought of that when she was besetting us with droughts and floods and poison monkeys. Nature started the fight for survival and now she wants to quit because she's losing. Well I say, hard cheese!" -- Montgomery Burns

"Don't pretend that you know me...cause I don't even know myself" -- The Who

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