A tax is a tax, it’s that simple

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 10, 2017

By Daniel Wise

Chair of the Pearl River County Libertarian Party

It seems 2017 is the year of new taxes. Property owners in the county likely noticed the recent increase in property taxes.

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Now, the Board of Supervisors is considering a new tax on prepared food and lodging, purportedly for economic development reasons. Let me put this as simple as I can: Taxes only benefit one entity, the government.

On the state level the Department of Revenue entered into a closed agreement with Amazon to start “voluntarily” collecting taxes on all purchases shipped into Mississippi. Concurrently, the House of Representatives voted for a bill to tax all Internet purchases. This same bill is already tied up in court in Alabama, so it seems like a waste of time.

Passing more taxes onto hard working Mississippians is neither a sound economically nor a moral position. Politicians need to remember that the only proper role of government in the economic realm is to protect property rights, adjudicate disputes, and provide a legal framework in which voluntary trade is protected.

Here is a real world example of how government intervention can harm the market. I have a friend who owns an apiary in a neighboring state. He makes some of the best honey and beeswax based beard balm on the planet.

He charges a very reasonable price. This is a very small, artisan, mom and pop operation. Mississippi determined he must start collecting sales tax.

To set up an account with the Department of Revenue requires either a $500 cash deposit or a sales tax bond issued by a bonding company. This can cost anywhere from $150-500 per year. (I own an insurance agency and procure these bonds for new business owners in the state all the time). Plus now he has to spend time filing out paperwork, and making sure he pays timely or he is subject to paying a fee. If not, he could be audited. This means less time doing what he loves (beekeeping) and takes away from his quality of life. Because I am likely one of his only customers in Mississippi, he may just decide it is not worth the trouble. Can you blame him?

So now, he loses a customer, and I lose access to a product handmade in America that I really enjoy. He may raise the price to make up for the regulations and hassle. But again, that may cause him to lose me as a consumer because I have a point where the cost outweighs the utility of a product. Bottom line, the government intervention into the free market harmed a small business owner, reduced my access to goods and services and only helped grow the wasteful bureaucratic machine. Side note, he could decide to sell his product on Amazon, but they charge a percentage, so again he either raises his prices, or takes a cut in his profits. Free market? Not so much.

We the people need to make our voices heard that we will not sit idly by and allow the government to continue increasing our tax burden.