September 26, 2010
In order to avoid the new Candy Tax in Washington State, I am carefully selecting what candies to buy for Halloween. Candy is legally defined as not having any flour, so I am buying up Twix, Kit Kat, Twizzlers, and -- my favorite of all -- Nestle Crunch. Mmmmmm.
The funny thing is that I've found that flour products actually make me gain weight more than products more heavily based on sugar. I don't think Michelle Obama would approve of Christine Gregoire encouraging me to gain weight. And certainly, no one sane would approve of the government encouragement to punish the makers of certain candies over others just because it lists "flour" on the ingredients. But I must comply! Christine knows best!
Do your part by helping me and Christine punish the makers of candy without flour: make your Halloween a no-flour-free zone!
Cross-posted on <pudge/*>.
Posted by pudge at September 26, 2010
07:26 PM | Email This
So how would you
Flour content is a ludicrous distinction but, as with most seemingly ludicrous tax rules, it actually makes sense from some perspective.
In WA we don't tax groceries but do tax restaurant meals and takeout items like coffee. I imagine that's because we consider groceries an essential need whereas the others are luxuries. Of course that's an imperfect distinction since a $30 vial of saffron is more of a luxury than a $1 fast-food burger.
Wanting to solve 2 problems at once -- budget deficits and obesity -- the state decided to tax candy, which after all is just as ready-to-eat and nonessential as a latte. As you may know there are efforts to standardize sales tax categories among states so that mail-order merchants can reasonably compute taxes for out-of-state customers. And it happens that there is an interstate group that has already defined candy this way, so WA decided to go along with their definition.
This begs the question of why flour matters. I am guessing that flour is a key distinction between candy and cookies. OK, why not tax cookies too? Then of course we'd need to distinguish between cookies and cake, or between cake and bread. Talk about slippery slopes.
I'm not defending any of this. Maybe we should tax all retail purchases uniformly. Or maybe we should abolish the sales tax and just have a state icome tax :). But there is a reason behind this madness.
2. I wish the government would keep its laws off my body with regard to obesity.
Prepared food is taxed; unprepared food is not. Think of it as a tax on the service of cooking/serving you your meal.
Taxing candy is a break with that concept.
But rather than tax candy or soda, I'd rather the State reduce the budget. The budget went up about $600 million, why not hold the budget flat and not increase taxes, which act as a disincentive to economy activity?
Bruce: So how would you define candy?
Clearly -- I think it is clear, anyway -- I would not.
Maybe we should tax all retail purchases uniformly.
I agree. Abolish all income tax, and replace with a retail consumption tax, along with a check to each family to cover what perhaps SHOULD be tax-exempt. That way you decide what you need to survive, so we don't exempt anything in particular, just give a general amount of exemption per family. Totally fair. Maybe we should call it the "Fair Tax."
And to followup on what Shanghai Dan said ... in a recession with a looming multi-billion-dollar deficit WE INCREASED SPENDING. Let that whopper sink in. Everyone who voted for the tax increases or the budget is a moron.
Agreed, Dan and pudge on cutting the state budget. My guess is no one would notice an across-the-board 30% reduction-in-force applied to state government staffing rolls.
I would think a 50% reduction in worthless meetings, make-work projects and redundant paperwork would product a much more desireable working environment with a commensurate increase in employee morale.
6. I'm not surprised that this has turned into a discussion over cutting the state budget. Any minute now Michele will probably bring up Obama's palling around with terrorists.
Well, Bruce, you see, it's like this:
But one of Moeller's top priorities -- adequate funding for the state's public health departments -- is languishing due to the state's budget crisis.
Of course, it's one of his "top priorities" essentially because he makes money off it... but, what the heck.
So, since this tax increase WAS about the budget that the moron behind this bill, Jim Moeller (Communist-49) sponsored, then it is rather appropriate to bring the budget up, don't you agree?
It's idiotic to raise ANY tax during a recession... just like it's moronic to increase spending during a recession. Somehow, though, I tend to believe you support that idiocy as much as the "Candy Man" Moeller.
Not to worry, that tax is going away, and hopefully, Moeller with it, in early November.
I actually don't mind this tax; it's the epitome of what I think a tax should be. Minor, small in $$ amount, everyone pays. And if I don't want to pay it, I don't have to buy candy. I figure if these pols are that hard-up for money, and they want to tax my S'mores ingredients, then whatever. But th is one of the better ways to tax people. I had actually planned to vote to keep the candy tax, for the reasons mentioned.
However, if 1098 appears to have a good chance of passing, I'm going to vote to repeal the candy tax. They can't have everything they want.
The "Candy Tax" is just another dirty little tax that allows our out-of-control state government the discretion to fund programs that most of us would never consider legitimate uses for tax dollars.
It's time to put a stop to all this special interest/political payola spending done in the name of "compassion". Whose compassion? When did it become necessary for anonymous taxpayers to fund non-profit, special interest organizations?
It's time our state and local governments posted publicly the organizations they bankroll and the dollar amounts obligated.
And no I haven't drank a soda or ate a candy bar for at least a decade, although I do buy bottled water occasionally.
Bruce: 6. I'm not surprised that this has turned into a discussion over cutting the state budget.
Um. But that's the POINT. The POINT is that they are finding ways to nickel and dime us -- in stupid ways -- because they wanted to increase spending ... even when our economy is at its worst.
The POINT is that they refuse to prioritize spending, even as they demand we do (with ridiculous rules!).
The POINT is that they engaged in all of this stupidity after we told them just two years priort that they weren't allowed to.
The POINT is that they -- the Democrats in control -- don't know how to manage government and should be turned out on their collective ear.
11. Don't forget the new M&Ms with pretzels! BTW, what happened to the Koster vs. Larsen questions we asked?
12. Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker. Oh wait, we live in WA and have state controlled liquor stores with short hours.
13. I say continue to tax sweet junk that has wheat in it, and I'll buy my tax-free butterscotch chews!
14. @12 Jeff - don't you love it when you run out of liquor on Sunday evening and you can't buy any? God I love this state, watching after my morals and everything!
I think the goal is issue is bigger than just taxes.
I see a point in the not too distant future when they will use this tax to levy a big fee for those of us that refuse to become vegetarians.
Sound farfetched? Think about it a bit and you'll probably see the logic in it..
The left LOVES to control people since "they know better" and allowing continual expansion of taxes to control the way we eat, drink and live is a great tool for them.
Why should a Twix be exempt but a Hershey's Special Dark not be? Why should a Crunch bar be exempt but M&Ms not?
It's not even a well-thought-out delineation (by flour). Heck, Mars could make ALL their candy exempt in the State of WA by simply sprinkling a little flour in the chocolate, as a thickener. A tablespoon per 10 pounds wouldn't affect taste or consistency at all, but now it would have flour and be exempt.
The issue is that the Legislature did this as an attempt to simply get more tax dollars. It wasn't about health or intake of calories, or trying to build up or tear down an industry, but simply to get more tax dollars. Pure and simple.
So, let's look at WHY they want those tax dollars! If there's no rhyme or reason to the taxation policy, then why are they doing it?
A more honest, straightforward approach would have been to simply raise the existing sales tax rate by 0.05% and call it done. Make the case that the State wants more money (even though the budget ALREADY increased), and then do it. Hiding a tax increase by calling it "good for society" by taxing candy is simply lying through rotten teeth.
Side topic on a similar theme:
Make Way for the Milk Monitors
Liberals are so confused that destroying a child's innocence is considered a virtuous accomplishment, but allowing M&M's in the cafeteria is an abomination.
Or you could have visited Oregon for a day.
There's no sales tax there.
19. Phillip, we could also just move there. Or maybe fix the broken govt we have here by electing competent people to replace the people controlling it now.
20. #17: Ha, Ragnar; kind of like "you can choose to kill your own child, but DON'T you dare choose your own lightbulb! THAT would be horrible!"
Leftist dogma is so confused and unable to get right and wrong right.
Imagine for a moment, how many high paid bureaucrats it takes to look at every form or candy product made, and or changed in any way, from our candy isles, Asian markets, German markets, etc etc and continually determine and redetermine what candies are exempt and which are not, and to document them. Also imagine that every store has to have a process to determine if each kind of candy gets taxed or not. Not to mention, does the bag of trick or treat candies have 10% twix or nestles crunch bars in it, so is it not taxed for the % of those candies in that bag.
It is a bureaucratic administrations and business nightmare to maintain this. Vote it out in November. They can cut their fat benefit and salary structures to meet the loss.
"I'm not surprised that this has turned into a discussion over cutting the state budget."
How can any discussion of taxes not involve a discussion of the state budget? Are you really a moron or simply trying to obfuscate?
PBJ@22, you are too charitable to me. Maybe I am really a moron and
am trying to obfuscate.
But in this case, pudge's original post dealt entirely with the odd definition of candy, not the overall size of the state budget. So I addressed his post. Silly me.