Posts Tagged ‘politicians’

Whacked Hacks Back Crack Tax

Saturday, January 26th, 2008


Nelson Rockefeller was Governor, I was a kid, and New York passed its first ‘sales tax’. I remember it was only a cent or two on a dollar and it was dubbed the ‘hot dog tax’ because you’d have to pay an additional penny for a ball park weiner. We thought it was funny.

“Those goddam bastards,” my Uncle Nick said, “I’m even gonna vote against the assholes who tried to stop it – they didn’t try hard enough!”

“Aw, Nick,” another Uncle said, “it’s only a penny.”

“What are you, stupid? You think it’s gonna stop at a penny? These bastards are gonna tax us to death! Mark my words – this is only the beginning.”

Uncle Nick was right. In time, New York would not only wildly boost its sales tax, and mandate countless new taxes, it’s even trying to create a new tax on which it has no hope of actually collecting: the drug tax. The what tax? You read that right, Binky, a tax on ‘controlled substances’ – drugs – is in the NYS budget proposal. The state would issue drug stamps just as they do today with cigarette stamps. The proposed tax would be $3.50 on an ounce of marijuana and $200.00/oz. on stronger drugs such as cocaine and heroin.

There may be a few small flaws in this brilliant plan. New Yorkers who buy cigarette tax stamps run legitimate businesses. Drug dealers don’t. Will dealers fill out tax paperwork answering questions like ‘annual income?’, ‘address?’, and ‘occupation’? Probably not; even though the tax people PROMISE not to give the information to law enforcement agencies – that’s ‘illegal.’ Right. But dealers sell dope – they aren’t dopes. Maybe they can just slip money under the door of the Tax Department late at night and stamps will be passed back in plastic baggies.

So why even bother with this nonsense?

Two reasons: First, the state will get another legal charge to bring against dealers: failure to pay NYS sales tax on illegal products. Tax evasion worked to put away Al Capone – but that was a federal statute and Al made hundreds of millions a year. The corner dopers who usually get caught are sardines compared to Al “the Whale” Capone.

But more importantly, the state gets to take a slice of the dealers confiscated post-bust loot. Maybe.


Yeh, well there’s kind of a line for the money now. Confiscated drug money gets divvied up between different agencies in the federal government and local law enforcement people. They squabble all the time; so what’s one more ‘Gimme, gimme!’ voice?

Estimated revenue in the first year? $12-million. Start up costs? About $75-million.

I heart New York!