Help is on the Way, Governor Doyle!


I would like to start smoking again. 

I know that sounds crazy, but hear me out.  Yes, I know it’s bad for me, yes, I know it’s dangerous, but the State of Wisconsin needs me.  Folks, I love my State of Wisconsin (State Flower:  the Wood Violet, State Tree:  the Sugar Maple, State Rock:  Red Granite, State Soil:  Antigo Silt Loam.  “This level, silty soil was created during the last of the Great Glaciers.”  State Hobby:  Plagiarizing Wikipedia.)

By the way, the State Bird is the Robin, whose Latin name is Turdus MigratoriusTurdus Migratorius.  Just enjoy that.

But my state needs me.  You see Wisconsin needs money to pay for State programs.  Some of these programs are very cool, but it also needs money to pay the people that payed them to have us pay for these programs.  It gets this money by levying taxes on the residents of the state.  And I don’t know if you heard, but it seems that the state has fallen on some financial hard times of late. 

Well, if you’re anything like me…after you flush the toilet, you’ll wait until the water stops running completely before you drink out of the sink.  I know my house isn’t plumbed that way, but if something went wrong it would be very, very gross. 

But that’s got nothing to do with state taxes.  How can you go about giving the state a little extra?  You could check any number of boxes on your State Income Tax form, but let’s face it, entering a dollar amount into those boxes is little more than a thinly-veiled bribe:  “Hey, State of Wisconsin!  It’s been a good year for me and my family.  Here’s a little something for you.  What do you say we overlook those $14,000 worth of Internet purchases?” 

Sure I could check the box to donate a dollar to some Election Campaign Fund, but I still don’t know what that is, and besides, I want to give more than a dollar; I want to give $1.75 a day.  Thankfully, The State of Wisconsin has arranged the perfect payment plan:  Cigarettes.  In 2008, the state of Wisconsin increased the tax on a pack of cigarettes by a dollar.  Tonight, at 7pm C.S.T., for 2009, Governor Doyle plans to announce another seventy-five cent tax hike.  As luck would have it, that’s exactly how much, per day, I’d like to send to Madison, no questions asked.  I’m sure they’ll spend it on something worth while.  When I think fiscal responsibility, I think State Government.  All I need to do is smoke a pack a day.  It’s win/win.  Not only is the extra $1.75 the state charges me good for the state, since cigarettes are bad for me, it’s for my own good as well. 

And while we’re on the subject of taxes, I have another way for Wisconsin to make some money.  It’s another tax, but when you hear it, I don’t think you Wisconsinites will have a problem paying it.  It’s a tax on children.  If you’re a home owner, you’re already paying a tax on children. 

I found this out when I looked at my Property tax bill, and saw a column for Milwaukee Public Schools.  Now, I love Milwaukee Public Schools; I’m the product of Milwaukee Public Schools; Hartford Avenue and then Rufus King. I have many friends who themselves are teachers at M.P.S., and I’d be more than happy to pay to have my children go there.  Trouble is, my wife and I don’t have children.  But that’s okay; we’re all about supporting our community.  But, maybe, just to make our tax payment more personal, M.P.S. could assign a student to us; M.P.S. could send us a photo of our child, and he or she could, you know, write us letters and stuff. 

But think about it; a tax on children.  To be paid by the parents.  We’ll call it the Breeding Tax.  I sense some of you are pulling back, but listen:  We don’t even have to charge a $1.75 a day.  We’ll only charge $300 a year.  That’s less than a dollar a day; the price of a cup of coffee (at a gas station).  Three hundred dollars per child in the State of Wisconsin per year?  The state would be rolling in it.  What kind of cool programs could we have then?   

As part of the deal, if parents didn’t want to pay the Breeding Tax, they could opt their children out of the program at the age of 12 by forcing them to get a job.  Like the Child Labor of the Good Ol’ Days.  And by the way, when did we get so skittish about putting kids to work?  I was a Milwaukee Sentinel paper boy.  And if I had to walk through two feet of unshoveled snow to deliver my weight in newspapers to certain old ladies who would call my house and wake up my Mom if I didn’t get the paper in her door by 5:15am (which was precisely when her toast popped up) so she could read it while she listened to Paul Harvey, and then tip me each week with a single Werther’s Candy that smelled like the pennies it shared a coin purse with, every kid should have to.

And the $300 dollars a year will also help pay for the child’s increased carbon footprint.  On average, a family with a child uses more energy and generates more waste than a family without.  A portion of the Breeding Tax will go towards developing alternative fuel sources and more easily-recyclable materials.  Combine that with the cigarette tax helping to fund health care and smoking awareness, and you’ve got a winning combination indeed.

Okay, look, I realize that our current tax laws allow us to actually deduct children from our taxes, and I realize that taking away dependents might not sit well with some people.  And I also realize that children are like tattoos and potato chips:  It’s really hard to stop at one.  So I have a compromise:  You can keep your child as a dependent, but every time your child bumps into me at a grocery store or a museum or a restaurant, you have to give me ten dollars from your tax deduction.  We’ll exchange information, just like at the site of a little fender bender, and at the end of the year, we’ll report all of these transactions to the I.R.S. 

And if your child hits me in the groin with anything swung, thrown or otherwise, I get your entire refund.


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