Where’s my Dadgum Sales Tax Holiday?

I ran across this article listing tax holidays state by state. Our ten-day tax holiday gives us a break on clothing, school supplies, backpacks and other items, and is always in August (at least since Jeb! was in office). I wanted to confirm the dates, and I was puzzled when I didn’t see Florida’s holiday listed.
The tax holiday must be approved each year, and this year the politicians do all the usual posturing, using three million words to say nothing at all. Florida politicians were so scared about losing revenue they were reluctant to approve any loss of income, and consumers are once again paying the price.

First, there was one. Then, there wasn’t to be one. Then, maybe there would be a shortened one. Then, there was confusion. The dadgum politicians dragged their asses until it was too late.

What’s so ridiculous is how short-sighted this indecision was. This tax break is real economic stimulus. Consumers feel good getting a little break, and it gets them into the stores. Many are likely spend more than they would have otherwise. Frugal shoppers like me are in heaven when they can take advantage ofgreat deals and save another 6-8% on tax. Every year I buy school supplies to use as stocking stuffers and gift bag items at great savings.

Retailers win, consumers win, and the state wins because they will get tax money on non-exempt items. The tax holiday saved Floridians anywhere between $41 and $46 million last year. They also jettisoned a similar tax holiday on hurricane supplies. That $12 million break, in place since the devastating hurricane seasons of 2004-2005, was removed from the budget in May.

I know balancing the state budget is a very difficult process. And I really appreciate that we still have no state income tax.

But really, come on. What’s $46 million between friends?



Hey Legislators! Let’s make a Minimum 24-hour Jail Stay Mandatory

Eighty-four minutes. That’s how long Lindsay Lohan “served” in jail as part of her plea deal related to her guilty plea on drunken driving charges last year.

Eighty-four minutes. I’ve had longer prison terms in line at the DMV. And, really, how is that any different? We both sat in government offices, both of us subject to the whim of government workers, and we both got our pictures taken (though I’m sure hers came out better).

I just think these in-and-out terms are ridiculous. I understand that there are programs to reduce overcrowding, and that they give time off for good behavior. I don’t like but accept that there are these teeny-tiny itty-bitty sentences, which are more statement than punishment.

But really, no one should ever be allowed to serve less than twenty-four hours. People convicted of crimes that have jail sentences should have the  experience of the  bars closing behind them. They should have to sit in a cell and reflect, even if only for one full day, on what actions they took that landed them there. They should have to poop in jail. They should have to at least attempt to sleep on a too-small, too-hard cot. They should have to hear noises in the night that they didn’t make, and wake up disoriented. They should have to experience a day in jail so they can, hopefully, decide never again to make the choices that got them there.

Eighty-four minutes isn’t going to do that for anyone.

It seems perfectly reasonable and logical to me.  Legislators, are you listening?  At least, those of you who aren’t in trouble yourselves?

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