Thursday, April 28, 2011

Taxes and gambling: Why not combine?

Some Republicans in Minnesota want to raise critical funds for state needs through expanded gambling (StarTribune article: At odds over gambling). Seems supporting the most vulnerable in our communities, paying teachers fairly, etc. doesn't provide enough incentive for many to want to pay taxes.  Taxes don't provide enough WIFM.... what's in it for me!  

Tax aversion is not limited to wealthy Americans, even those large corporations who have benefitted enormously by being located in the United Sates, such as GE, have figured out ways around paying taxes.  With the help of tax advisors, lobbyist and contributions to political campaigns they've established loopholes to get off tax-free.

Clearly we need to find a way to add some WIFM to the tax collection system for those who just can't otherwise find it in their heart to support paying taxes for the common good.

How about combining gambling with taxes to make the process more palatable for individuals and businesses needing more WIFM incentives?  If there was a chance they could win some of their very own WIFM wish list items perhaps they might be more likely to pay taxes.  Rather than spending all those dollars on lobbyist, political campaigns and tax advisors they could pay taxes, knowing that some of their personal/corporate wish list items might just be won with their contributions.  The more they pay, the greater the chance of winning.

Tax payers and corporations would all make their private list of items that they would each like to win, much like the lists they provide to lobbyists and political candidates.  Marginal scrutiny would have to be provided by a regulating body to assure that the incentive list does not involve things such as toxic waste disposal in areas with dense populations, clear cutting of national parks, etc.  

The larger the prize the greater the amount of taxes need to pay in order to be entered to win. For example, to have a chance of winning an American Ambassador position in the Bahamas would require a considerably larger tax payment than the chance to win a spot as Ambassador to Haiti.  Before being eligible to win a chance to go to war I would suggest that the tax level for an oil corporation, or group of corporations, be large enough to actually cover all of the cost of their chosen war.

Just imagine if all of the dollars currently going toward gambling, lobbyist, political campaigns and tax advisors were funneled directly into taxes.  We could make up our nation's financial deficit before you could shout BINGO.

Let's concede to human avarice and the need to "get lucky" once in awhile and change our method of paying taxes.  It could be just the thing needed to get those Republican and Tea Party candidates on board with paying more taxes to support the common good.

PS  Nice commentary on taxes and gambling in the StarTribune by Rev. Gordon Stewart "Are we taxpayers or citizens?... Our society has redefined itself: Now, we want something for nothing."

No comments:

Post a Comment