Thursday, January 12, 2012

Are some first amendment tax breaks better than others?

David Taintor, who has blogged critically at TPMMuckraker about tax breaks for a religious-themed amusement park in Kentucky, today turns his attention to an Oklahoma lawmaker who wants to repeal that state's sales tax loophole for newspapers and magazines.
An Oklahoma lawmaker wants to repeal a sales tax exemption on his state’s newspapers and magazines. Because apparently people are still reading too many newspapers these days.
We tax other media, including books. Is that because lawmakers want to discourage reading?

We tax children's coats. Is that because lawmakers want children shivering?

I like newspapers; I don't like unemployment, and I don't like taxes. But why should for-profit newspapers get special tax treatment that is not available to other businesses? The goods and services that those businesses sell are also important, and the people that they employ (or could employ) are worth our consideration.

North Carolina his its own newspaper sales-tax loophole. It and other sales-tax loopholes could (and should) be closed, which would broaden the tax base and allow the nominal sales tax rate for everyone to fall.