Monday, April 21, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

They better legalize pot fast, because our leaders are running out of other vices to tax!

They better legalize pot fast, because our leaders are running out of other vices to tax!

Here's a prediction: Pennsylvania and Philadelphia officials are going to race ahead of the rest of the nation in legalizing -- and regulating -- marijuana. Why? Because they're running out of other vices to tax middle-class people with.

First, about the Mary Jane Express -- don't you miss that train at the station:

State and federal government agencies spend billions of taxpayer dollars each year to combat the sale and consumption of marijuana, and have arrested millions in an ongoing "war on drugs" that has lasted more than four decades.

But if how Americans view pot is any indication, that war may not last another 40 years.

A majority of Americans now support marijuana legalization, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Pew Center for the People & the Press.

Wow -- has anyone turned on Gov. Corbett or Mayor Nutter to this new information? Because they've been tripping over each other to find all-American vices they can tax in order to keep levies on their millionaire backers and large corporations at record lows. After slashing Pennsylvania's safety net, Corbett wants to put Keno -- the electronic lottery version of crack cocaine -- in bars to raise a few extra dollars for senior citizens, and  he wants to see more booze in private liquor stores to recoup some of the money that he slashed for your kids' school. And now Nutter and City Council are apparently hoping to save the foundering public schools here in Philadelphia by raising more tax dollars every time you knock one back at the corner tavern:

Mayor Nutter and City Council are rarely on the same page these days, but a proposal to increase the “liquor by the drink” tax to help fund the School District’s $60 million request seems to be gaining traction on both sides.

City Council President Darrell Clarke has mentioned the possibility of raising the tax, which now adds 10 percent to your bar bill, in recent budget hearings. Nutter indicated Thursday that it's a proposal his administration is considering.

Or, or....we could make Philadelphia's largest corporation, Comcast, which throws us a few job breadcrumbs, to actually pay its fair share back to the city? In fact, if we really wanted to go crazy, we could close Pennsylvania's egregious corporate tax loopholes, which allow $4.4 billion a year to slip from our grasp while schools and basic services deteriorate. Or we could just hit on everyday working people every time they go to meet their friends at the tavern, until we make them so poor that buying wads of Corbett's privatized lottery tickets is their only possible way out.

I'd go with the corporations. But then I'm probably smoking something.

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Will Bunch
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