One of the World’s Silliest Tax Breaks

What if they gave a tax break and nobody came?

The solons in the General Assembly thought it might be a good idea to provide a sales tax holiday for the purchase of hurricane supplies. Not surprisingly, John Reid Blackwell with the Times-Dispatch has reported, hardly anyone could be spotted last weekend loading up on generators, batteries or any of the other two dozen or so items for which the sales tax was waived.

Let me say this slowly so lawmakers understand. People… stock… up… on… hurricane. .. supplies…… (extra long pause)…. when… they… think… a… hurricane… is… coming. When a hurricane is not coming, as it was not this past weekend, people are likely to forego the expenditure of money for items they do not need, no matter how much they save in taxes.

I might add this. When… people… think… a… hurricane… is… coming…. (extra long pause)…. they… don’t… need… a… sales… tax… holiday… to… convince… them… to… buy… the… supplies. I’m just guessing here, but I suspect that most people would rather have the state invest the sum drained by the sales tax holiday, however much it was, in emergency preparedness instead.

Norm Leahy said it right over on Tertium Quids (his new favorite blogging hangout): “A far more rational, and sustainable, effort to ease the financial burden on taxpayers is to advocate for and enact the most moderate tax regime possible. No loopholes, no gimmicks, no giveaways, no special taxing districts or fees masquerading as taxes.”

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  1. Anonymous Avatar

    Are you kidding?

    It is political genius. It allows you to say you voted for lower taxes, without having to worry about the backlash of lower revenues.

  2. Groveton Avatar

    Is there any chance that beer might be classified as a hurricane supply? If so, it would represent one of the few times I have seen something positive from the political establishment.

  3. Scott Avatar

    Its really too bad that solar installation is not included in the tax holiday.

    One of the lessons left in Katrina’s wake is that distributed solar energy makes good disaster recovery.

    But the Commonwealth is slow, lead by politicians who are wed to the coal and nuclear lobbyists.

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    At first, I thought that was a good idea.

    Then I thought, “How many solar panels survived Katrina?”


  5. Anonymous Avatar

    Most of them. Solar was a great success story dor disaster recovery.

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