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Payin' for my sins

Politics and other mistakes
By AL DIAMON  |  April 15, 2009

I don’t like the way you’re looking at me.

That’ll be 50 cents to cover Maine’s new hostile-stare tax.

Planning to punch me out? It’ll hurt you more in the wallet than it will me in the kisser, because this state will soon have a hefty surcharge on surliness.

Spreading nasty rumors about me?

The lowdown is that you’ll have to cough up a buck for the official gossip tax.

Wasting time? There’s a stiff levy on loitering.

Napping? If you snooze, you lose — financially.

Messing around on your spouse or significant other? Illicit sex can be taxing — in more ways than one.

That’s the way it’s going to be under my bold and innovative tax-reform plan. You’ll be making a substantial payment to the public coffers every time you engage in bad behavior. This will result not only a state in which a majority of the population is polite, accommodating, faithful, and industrious, but also one in which the substantial minority of angry, adulterous, lazy, and generally unpleasant slobs guarantees that the books will be balanced even in the worst recessions.

Damn. I should have known real tax reform couldn’t be that simple. I just got a letter from the Maine Revenue Service informing me I owe unreasonable-expectations tax.

But even if it’s not possible to tax every sin (that tooth-gnashing sound seems to be coming from Michael Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council), it ought to be within our power to put a heavy financial burden on at least a few of them, beyond the usual scapegoats of liquor and tobacco.
Take, for instance, legislation introduced by Democratic state Representative David Webster of Freeport, which calls for a statewide ban on trans fats. Webster told the Bangor Daily News he believes the tasty-but-unhealthful glop should be outlawed because of its financial impact on the health-care system.

“The fact is that it costs us because of MaineCare,” he said, “it costs us because of high rates of disease in this state, and it costs us as taxpayers.”

Well then, why not make those gourmands who insist on the traditional greasy methods of making French fries, doughnuts, and corn dogs pay for their plebian palates? All it would take is a Maine trans-fat tax to settle their stomachs and the government’s debts.

Republican state Senator Walter Gooley of Farmington wants to legalize fireworks, because this state is running behind the national average for people with only one eye or less than 10 fingers. But there’s also a monetary aspect.

“I see this generating several hundred thousand dollars [in sales taxes],” Gooley told the Morning Sentinel.

I think he’s underestimating the potential. As a big fan of blowing things up, I’d be more than willing to pay an explosive tax rate to get my hands (so far, with all fingers intact) on some serious rocketry. And imagine what we could make selling this stuff to the North Koreans.

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