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Pay to Tax? Welcome to New York

by on September 17, 2009

Small-government sympathizers may have picked up help they’d rightly never expect. Specifically, tea party types can enjoy a new sign that the tide is officially turning in their favor: The Buffalo News is acting like it’s pro-business. Well, it’s true at least one time. A recent front-page story in the oft-leftward rag about companies getting socked for the privilege of charging sales tax was notable for the fact that it was published:

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance is sending out letters ordering businesses to renew their sales tax certificates — the piece of paper that allows them to collect sales tax on behalf of the state — and pay a renewal fee of $50 apiece.

The story includes a telling quote from Pat Potts, president of a local company named Harbison Brothers. She is suitably vexed about enduring yet one more soaking:

“We collect the tax for the state, we fill out the paperwork for the state, keep records for the state, send the paperwork and the money to the state correctly and on time,” she said. “And now the state wants to charge us $50 for the ‘privilege’ of doing it?”

To review: in New York, business must pay so that customers can pay the tax. Nobody could be shocked that the state punishes those who create commerce, although it’s still valuable to be aware of another example of fleecing. The article notes,

The fees collected are expected to raise about $34 million for the state over three years.

Unfortunately, the government never grasps where money comes from, namely the paychecks of people who can’t just vote themselves a raise. The state adds millions to its pile only by taking millions from its citizens.

But at least those affected were provided with a chance to complain in a not-always friendly venue. The News is often an example of why the phrase “liberal media” is redundant; as the only game in town, the monopolistic paper might just feel that it has much in common with the government. Still, they pleasantly surprised with this story. While New York’s fee is at best annoying, the paper listened to those who were directly annoyed. It’s a promising step, even if it took a business reporter, namely Samantha Maziarz Christmann, to make it.

So, is the News going to be sympathetic to us right-wing nuts from today forward? Maybe not yet: adjacent to the sales tax certificate piece was an Associated Press story about the Obama-backed volunteerism on September 11. That came in lieu of an article about, you know, those who actually mourned the dead in quiet commemoration or renewed the call for measured justice on their behalf.

But one small step is fine as long as it’s in the correct direction. Who knows: the paper’s staff might be able to get conservatives to read it because they like it and not merely since there’s no other print option. The tax fee article provides a faint reason for hope, even if it’s more likely that Buffalo will have a Republican mayor before it happens.

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