Dispatches from District 48
A reader sent me this list of tax exemptions in the state of Washington. Obviously people you never expected to have lobbyists have good lobbyists. Mint farmers? Click to enlarge:
Derelict Vessel Deconstruction. Doesn't that apply to government, and shouldn't everyone get that exemption?
Aren't mint plants weeds? I mean, I have mint growing in a blocked off section of my garden so it doesn't take over the whole thing.
I can tell you are not a farm boy. EVERYBODY knows that 'mint is the only profitable crop. That would be "guv'mint" to you city folks.
Why do Mint farmers need a propane credit? It's because the crop is often "processed" in the field at the time of harvesting, or at a more central facility (usually at the farm) shortly after harvesting.
Harvested mint is steamed to release the mint oils. The combined mint oil vapor and steam is cooled, condensed to liquid state, and collected. The mint oil floats to the top and is subsequently collected and sold. The water is reused to make more steam, usually.
It's an energy-intensive process and usually uses propane as fuel to generate the steam, hence the desire for a propane credit of some kind.
"Certain Flavor Imparting Products by Restaurants"
Salt and pepper?
The marquee of the Government Theater says "Blockbuster hit: 'We tax the rich and give the money to you'. Two shows daily and three on Sunday."
There is a back door where the supposedly-taxed buy exemptions with campaign contributions and public-service ads. The government really does care for the little guy. No issue is too small to create an exemption for sale. Mint farmers, dairy farms, garbage collectors, hair stylists, interior decorators, are just a few of the diverse professions which can buy a favor from caring government.
It remains a carefully unexplained mystery why tax revenues don't go up much.
Don't get me wrong. If there were heavier, effective taxes on "the rich" then our economy would be even worse. So, the back-door deals can be seen as a step toward fairness and efficiency, given the long-running popularity of the main drama.
Instead of the drag of high taxes, we have the drag of government bureaucrats picking winners and losers. They have neither the knowledge nor the motivation to get that right, so the result is considerable diversion of resources to less effective uses, and slower economic growth.
But _someone_ still has to pay those taxes, so other enterprises are being held back by even higher taxes. In addition, every business is diverting money from investment or research into buying lobbyists in an attempt to get their own special exemption. And someone is going to pay even more taxes - the legislators and government agencies need to hire more staff to put a buffer between them and all those lobbyists.
You have nicely explained why mint farmers need to use propane or another source of energy. What you haven't explained is why mint farmers need a tax credit to buy their energy for them. Most every line of business requires energy. Usually, you pay for it yourself and that factors into the cost of your good or services.
Oh, sorry... I only meant that in the sense that the mint lobby managed to convince government that there was a "need"
You're right, though that they shouldn't have to rely on tax incentives for their business.