Smoke and mirrors

My Thoughts

Dr. Bill AtwoodJuly 11, 2012 

Each month after my wife has purchased her sodas at the local market she complains that the stores have charged tax on the 5 cent CRV that is added to every can. She kept telling me that this is a subject for one of my columns. I have been thinking about the idea of the government taxing us on a deposit and the other ways the government taxes us and started to delve into the CRV taxation issue.

It seems that our legislative folks saw the value in charging us a deposit on every can of soda, beer, or bottle. It would increase revenues into the state coffers and it would encourage folks to return the discards to the stores.

I remember growing up in Compton and later in the San Fernando Valley and it seemed every kid I knew went around the neighborhoods collecting the bottles so that we could turn them in for the two or three cents deposit. The bottlers would reuse the bottles and it seemed to work just fine.

The state saw an opportunity and they seized it. They wrote the legislation calling the deposit a "fee" and that "fee" is charged to the retailer and then "passed on" to the consumer and as such the CRV is a taxable item. I know that the sales tax on a nickel doesn't seem enough to get upset about and the state legislature folks saw it as a safe way to increase our taxes and their revenues.

However, when we consider that a person buying two cans per day would purchase 730 cans which would generate $36.50 in CRV and then an additional tax just under $3 giving the state a revenue stream of almost $40 for that one solitary citizen. Now consider the almost 40 million Californians and you see the revenue stream is great.

Once we collect the cans we take them to the recycling centers and redeem our cans for the CRV and it keeps our areas cleaner.

The CRV deposit/fee issue also goes to a larger issue. The state and federal leaders in both parties have used language to deceive us and it has grown into a tremendous problem because it is language designed to confuse the masses. I won't go into every instance because this edition of the Sierra Star doesn't have enough space to list every misleading example. Let's look at Truman calling the War in Korea a "police action" because he knew the American folks were tired of war after WWII. The Vietnam War was a "conflict" and not a war and some of the actions in the Middle East are part of declared and some undeclared action.

Nixon called his peace plan to pull out of Vietnam "Peace with Honor" and Bill Clinton did not know what "is" meant. The current debate over Obamacare centers on the mandate being a fee, a penalty, or a tax. We often hear the phrase, "A different version of the truth."

The politicians in Sacramento mandate the schools to provide certain types of services and instruction but don't really fund the mandates. The state law requires a funded mandate so the rascals in Sacramento fund a million dollar cost with a thousand bucks and declare it "under-funded" but still a "funded mandate" so the local school district absorbs the lost.

Jerry Brown cuts the state prison budget by "relocating" prisoners to local, already overcrowded jails without adequate funding and the counties are forced to absorb the costs. The guv announces the savings and locally we get stuck with higher local taxes or a cut in service. This doesn't even cover the fact that some criminals are allowed to roam around because there is no room at the jail.

When the state announces an increase in the COLA for state workers or programs they grab the headlines as supporters of those benefiting from the increase. They then "negatively fund" the budget and actually cut the money for that very program.

Go into a deli and order a sandwich and it isn't taxed. If they toast it for you the entire sandwich is now taxable. Why? Because they can.

It's all smoke and mirrors and we have grown so accustomed to it that we don't hold anyone accountable.

It's quite taxing,

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