Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Bama Tax Story

Months ago, I hung out with my dad for a day, and we went across the state line....to a farm supply warehouse sales operation.  My dad bought a huge bag of dogfood, and around a hundred bucks of other farm-related items.  I didn't really see the necessity of shopping over into Tennessee....figuring there's plenty of farm supply stores in Bama.

Well....my dad pulls out a card at the cash register and he's noted as Tennessee-buyer, and thus entitled to a tax discount from the state of Tennessee.

So here lies an interesting tale.  Tennessee, along with Georgia and Florida....wrote up a law to exempt farmers on farm supply sales.  It amounts to roughly 1.5 percent of the normal bill.  A farmer might spend six thousand bucks a year on supply items....maybe even fifteen thousand if it's a big operation.  That 1.5 percent savings?  It kinda matters.

It gets a guy to pausing and pondering. The state of Bama is surrounded by Tennessee, Georgia and Florida.  If you live within a hundred miles of the state line.....you might find just cause to drive over and do business out of state.  The amount of money leaving the state and Bama business operations?  Unknown....but it would appear that we aren't talking about marginal sales loss.

In the last couple of weeks, some Bama legislative folks have met up in Montgomery (Republicans, mind you), and discussed this loss of business.  Someone in the Bama farm supply business probably has added up what they did twenty years ago, and noted that there's some serious purchases and profit leaving the state.

The Bama legislative folks are now talking of a bill to exempt Bama farmers from 1.5 percent of the tax normally put on them.

Now, a guy would ponder on city taxes and what this all means.  Right now....if you went shopping within the city limits of Madison (just outside of Huntsville)....you'd pay nine percent on sales tax.  It's a hefty amount, and you'd pay eight percent if you shopped inside of Huntsville itself.  Even from my hometown of Florence....it's 8.5 percent on sales tax.

Will it persuade Bama farmers to toss out the strategy of shopping across the state line?  It's hard to say.  Farmers, once they get into a frame of mind that they are saving money and getting a better deal...won't easily give up their habits.

And the thing is....if you decrease this tax to help so-and-so....how will you make it up?  A new boat tax?  A higher gas tax?  A new tractor registration fee?  A hunting license fee increase?  You can't fix one problem....without creating another.  It's a sad fact of life.  

Simply Observations

The Census folks came to an unusual bit of analysis.....shortly....we could be talking about weeks, not months.....Florida will out-number New York state.  The 2020 Census is a pretty serious episode now.  New York will lose at least one or two more Representatives.  You can figure between 2014 and 2020....Florida might gain at least 300,000 more residents.  A status thing?  Yeah.  But it tells one large story in that the north part of New York state is literally dying, from a lack of business and industry.  The state can do little to help them.....having put their eggs mostly in the basket to help New York City.  If you ever saw the need to break one state apart, to save some segment of it....this is it.

Phil is heading back to A & E and Duck Dynasty.....his suspension will be wrapped up in a matter of days.  What did A & E determine?  Did a significant number of gays watch their network?  No.  Did a significant number of blacks watch their network?  No.  Did a vast news media audience in the nation watch their network?  No.  In the end, they kind of figured out that they made viewers and money off regular people....the type that drink whisky, drive Ford F-150 pick-ups, mend fences, grill ribs off the back of a pontoon boat, and know the store hours by heart of their local Piggly Wiggly.  If there was a five-star gay lesbian reality series about a hair salon in Red Bay, or a black five-star reality series about a group of ministers and their weekly deeds to bring God into the heart of some deprived neighborhoods.....then they might have paused and let Phil sit a bit more.  Reality.....is reality, in the end....you know (as Phil would say).

I've come to notice a number of folks commenting in the past ten days over their new healthcare plans as of 2014.  These are folks, who went to the cheaper 'bronze' plans, and now realize that a six-thousand dollar deductible is part of the deal.  Frankly, they don't have six-thousand to play around each year and save their butts or pay Doctor Jones.    For some odd reason, I have this feeling that some legislative efforts will occur in 2014.....to give folks a bunch of tax credits for the deductible stuff, and write that off on their taxes.  Somewhere in 2015, we will have to invent new taxes....to make up for the losses.  Maybe I'm wrong on this....but you can smell some kind of mess brewing.

Finally, the world has flipped in Bama.  Auburn....one of the finer universities in America, will be offering Brewery Science shortly.  Yeah, that the fine art of brewing beer.  Now, if you'd suggested that to anyone a decade ago....they would have chased you out of the state.  The deal?  Oska Blues Brewery has teamed to help Auburn put together a program.  You need to already have a degree in your hand, and this will simply act as a certificate program onto that.  The classes?  Soils, malting, mashing, beverages, fermentation, brewing, and business studies involving beer.  The curious thing?  Most all of the classes will be on-line....so a guy could be a twenty-year graduate with a curious nature....and just take the classes after work.  Start-up?  The fall of 2014.  Transforming the state?  Well, you can figure that four hundred thousand Bama residents are Auburn graduates (you have to have a degree before they let you into the program)....and I'll bet at least ten thousand sign up for the on-line program.  We might have more micro-brewery operations in Bama by 2020, than any other state.  Course, we need some heavy-duty beer consumption to go along with that.