By Chris Story
Why did potters not only survive, but thrive during the “Great Depression?”
Simply put, everyone needs a plate to eat on, a pot to cook in and a place to store food stuffs. Pottery was relatively inexpensive compared to the crystal and steel alternatives; hence potters had an expanding audience for their products, even in a time of economic chaos for so many others. Supply and demand at work; and the flip side, the cost of goods sold by the potters was relatively low, thus they enjoyed a tidy profit margin. Not a bad deal, right?
It makes you think about what do people need? Not just what do you want, but what do you need?
And should these need’s be subject to taxation?
For example, you need housing. Every single person needs a roof over their head, and always will. Every one of us needs to eat, that will never change; food and water are as basic to human survival as is breathing air.
Should either food (non-prepared) or rent be subject to taxation?
At the March 10 Homer City Council meeting, Councilman Zak thanked the finance director for a report that had been shared at an earlier meeting reflecting a better outcome from last year’s budget than expected. (I’ll share with you the details on that as soon as I have them in hand).
This all the while the non-prepared foods sales tax holiday (voted into place by you) was in place. You were able to keep “upwards of a million dollars” (Mayor Wythe’s words) in your own pockets, spending over the long winter months as you saw fit; and yet it appears that the city coffers didn’t dry up and wither away.
For now, the discussion appears to be over regarding the reinstatement of the year round sales tax on non-prepared foods. But just you wait, it will come back around. Like the bear that has once tasted garbage, they cannot go back to the wilds of the wilderness. No, that sweet tangy taste haunts the bear until he becomes a threat to human life and must be put down.
It’s time to put down the ability for any council, present or future, to go back to the days of year round sales tax on the basic necessity of life – food.
The only way to ensure responsible spending is to reduce the taxes that flow to the central authority. A permanent year-round holiday of sales tax on non-prepared foods is an excellent place to start. We will address rent next.
Tax free food is a basic civil right.
Chris Story is a lifelong Alaskan, and broker and owner of Story Real Estate. He is also host of “Alaska Matters Radio,” heard Tuesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on KPEN.
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