Sunday, July 17, 2005

In this world nothing is certain but death and...fees?

Doug e-mails to express his confusion:

While I have lived in Minnesota for several years (and happily so) I was born and raised in the Ozark Hills. Way back there in that backwards area of this great country we had a name for people who do the kind of things Pawlenty is doing with his "health impact fee". We called it lying. I am certain that I have to be missing something here. I mean after all, didn't Tim sign a pledge not to raise taxes? Wait, never mind, this is not a tax it is a "health impact fee" Do you happen to remember a former President that made a very memorable statement when he said, under oath, "Depends on what the meaning of is is."

Minnesota is my adopted home. Having traveled the entire United States, I picked Minnesota as the most desirable place to live. The lakes, the summers and even the winters attracted me. I do however find it sad that "Minnesota Nice" seems to mean that you tax, sorry fee, the poorest of Minnesotans into an even worse position. This group of people has made the choice to smoke, a very community oriented choice and a great sacrifice which should be honored. The choice they have made to smoke means they will die early and as a result not become a burden on our great society. This group of people happens to also be the group most likely to require taxpayer support in later life. They, on the whole, have no savings and no assets to speak of and in order to help reduce the potential burden they pose to Minnesota taxpayers, they smoke. They realize that by smoking they are supporting the state. Smoking means they will die early and reduce the impact they will have on the hard working people of Minnesota. How do we, the state of Minnesota nice, reward them? We tax, sorry fee, them to death. While the sacrifice that poor smokers make for Minnesota make may not rise to the level of the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, it does much to decrease the burden on the taxpayers of Minnesota.

As a person that has, by choice, made Minnesota my home it saddens me that we could elect a "Republican" governor who, with a very straight face, could defend such a obvious example of political double speak repeatedly. As for Hugh, I always thought he was a conservative. Sorry Hugh for not understanding you. You are a true citizen of "the state where nothing is allowed."

In the interest of full discloser I am not a smoker. I do eat at McDonalds however and I can see the day when my Big Mac's will have some special tax, sorry I keep using that word I really meant fee. As we all know a fee is not the same as a tax.

After writing this I have to ask for your help. I graduated from college, and in fact had a fairly good GPA, but I can't understand the difference between a tax and a fee. I really need your help here, I know there is a difference because the governor says there is but I can't seem to comprehend it. I am feeling so stupid right now and I don't know where to turn. I am sincerely hoping you can explain the difference between a tax and a fee. As I said earlier I am just a dumb hillbilly and as a result I need help understanding this. I am sure it is an easy thing to explain because when I saw Tim Pawlenty talking about it and he smiled the smile of someone that was looking down on me, he made it obvious that there was something about this whole thing I just don't understand.

I am sure you will answer me. I am from such a backwards area of the US that I am having a really hard time with this. We were so simple that we thought that when the government took money out of your pocket it was called a tax but then again we were just dumb hillbillies.

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