[personal profile] kittenscribble
Currently the state of Maryland is on a tax holiday week, hoping to get people out shopping and spending. (Don't go nuts; I think it's only for clothing and "accessories" less than $100.) I feel very ambivalent about the tax holiday. I recognize that it's supposed to give the economy a boost, get people out to spend money at local businesses, etc, and I certainly wish our local businesses the best of luck.

However, I'm torn, because I actually want to pay my sales tax. I think it's needed. I mean, look around. The state, although doing pretty well compared to other states in the nation, is still in debt and facing budget shortfalls, and social services are being threatened with cuts. I, on the other hand, have the great good fortune of being debt-free (discounting my mortgage), and I absolutely do not mind paying my 6% share of sales tax. I want to help the state government along, in order that they may build roads, fund schools, pay pensions. I like this state. I want to do what I can.

I realize that I'm quite the exception and that for many people, the 6% savings can make a significant difference. I wonder if the tax holiday can be optional? Maybe they can give you a form with boxes to check: "yes, I would like to pay the sales tax / no thanks, I'm on holiday".

Oh well, whatever. It's only for a week. I can wait a few days to do my shopping.

Date: 2010-08-09 08:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pictsy.livejournal.com
One thing I don't understand is the "estimated tax" that a lot of online retailers have started charging. I really doubt that they're sending the money to my state. I guess I should find out.

Date: 2010-08-09 10:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittenscribble.livejournal.com
That's interesting. I haven't run into that, but I haven't bought much online recently. I've seen some online vendors charge you state tax if you're from the a particular state, but that "estimated tax" thing sounds iffy.

I just realized I know absolutely nothing about taxes on online retail. Are retailers governed by tax laws on point of purchase sales where they live? What if they're in Delaware where there's no sales tax, but I live in Maryland which levies sales tax on internet purchases? This merits further research.

Date: 2010-08-10 11:46 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
The tax-free time is typically aligned with back-to-school time, and meant to allow folks to buy those clothes and such for their kids, and speaking as a father of two daughters who could spend upwards of three or four hundred on those ten pairs of pants,shirts, underwear, and bras, that tax-free time can be an extra pair of gym shoes. That in combination with sales aimed at the time frame, can take a lot of pressure off this expensive time of year. That said it does almost nothing for the economy, we (and I suspect most) are going to spend X dollars on back to school, we just get more for X. Consumption does virtually nothing to spur the economy, Keyensian economics ignores that one cannot consume without first producing, it ignores causality.

As an Objectivist I can assure you I do not hate you for pursuing your values, it is what you should do. It is what everyone should be free to do. We may not always agree on what it is we value, but in a free society those differences never harm either of us.

Date: 2010-08-12 12:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittenscribble.livejournal.com
Perhaps "hate" was a strong word to use in the title there; I apologize. My image of Objectivism is shaped almost entirely by having read Atlas Shrugged, which I remember as being utterly without compromise; in practice it must be a bit less black-and-white.

I do agree that in all probability, the tax holiday would mostly shift consumer spending instead of increasing it, but I believe the hope is that once the tax holiday has drawn customers into the stores, the customers might then be inclined to splurge a little. Same principle as offering sales.

Date: 2010-08-10 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] p-sunshine.livejournal.com
Optimistic: if the state was facing serious budgeting shortfalls, it wouldn't be able to lend a hand to the local economies the way that it currently is.

Pessimistic: The state is going broke and knows that if more businesses close, then their tax dollars will also disappear, so the state is acting in its own best interest and reaping the political rewards.

Let's go shopping!: or not. You are free to make whichever stand you wish and I like your reasoning. I don't mind paying sales tax, but my shopping habits will probably not be affected one way or the other right now. Once Paige is big and getting ready to go back to school though, I'm sure the extra twenty for shoes after buying everything else she needs will come in handy. She's my daughter. She's going to have big feet that grow really fast. =)

Date: 2010-08-12 12:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kittenscribble.livejournal.com
There's probably a bit of both optimistic and pessimistic in there. The state is not in real trouble; MD's employment numbers are better than the national average, and the housing market is still healthy enough that they're not giving houses away. (Pity.) I think the government didn't offer the tax holiday last year, so they probably do feel more secure in that they're offering it this year.

I'm sure that if my dual-income no-kid household situation were to change, I'd feel more excited about the tax holiday too. =)


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