LIBERAL PARADISE UPDATE: New York State taxes sliced bagels

This is how New York State balances its budget? A tax on sliced bagels? Oy vey!

From the Wall Street Journal:

Sliced Bagels, Taxes on Top
What’s the tax on a bagel? It depends how you slice it—or in the case of New York, if you slice it.

State tax officials, under orders from cash-strapped Albany to ramp up their audit and compliance efforts, have begun to enforce one of the more obscure distinctions within the state’s sales tax law.

In New York, the sale of whole bagels isn’t subject to sales tax. But the tax does apply to “sliced or prepared bagels (with cream cheese or other toppings),” according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. And if the bagel is eaten in the store, even if it’s never been touched by a knife, it’s also taxed.

The lawmaker who came up with this brilliant idea should be voted out of office as soon as possible. How could you even come up with something so stupid? A sliced bagel is taxed, but a whole bagel is not?

Mr. Greene says the extra charge, about eight cents a bagel, depending on the local rate, filled his customers with boiling rage. “They felt we were nickel-and-diming them. They thought we were charging them to slice a bagel,” he said.

Eight cents a bagel?

One source of confusion is that the rule isn’t spelled out in the tax code. And while sliced bagels are subject to sales tax, a sliced loaf of bread at a bakery isn’t, according to tax officials.

A spokesman for the tax department said the state “will provide additional guidance via our Web site and publications in the near future.”

Guidance! How nice of the tax department! How about having Albany legislators’ heads examined?

Here’s a nice snarky comment:

Paul Rubiola wrote:
Don’t let Washington hear about this – they’ll call it a tax “cut” and try to figure out how to “give” it to the rest of the nation.

Another comment:

Michael Perera replied:
Albany cannot out do Sacramento. If you have your Subway sandwich toasted you have to pay sales tax. Not toasted no sales tax

Another comment:

John Trottman wrote:
Sure, don’t face down the State Employee Unions to save some $, just figure out how to squeeze more out of the taxpayers.
And don’t go straight at them, make the insurance, restaurant and other industries collect the taxes for you.
Don’t visit New York. As much as I love the State, they need to be STARVED into facing their real issues.

Reason Hit & Run loved this topic:

Sliced Bagel Tax Angers New Yorkers
Katherine Mangu-Ward | August 24, 2010
This isn’t an isolated incident, and stories like this are likely to become more common as state governments that are out of money start looking for ways to nickle and dime their taxpayers.
celtigirl|8.24.10 @ 4:30PM
Perhaps this will encourage more New Yorkers to carry their own knives. I can’t think of any downside here…
Paul|8.24.10 @ 6:45PM
A poor economy always exposes government for what it is: A racket of legalized thievery.

Even the liberal Village Voice is outraged:

Only in New York
The Sliced Bagel Tax: This is Actually A Thing?

By Foster Kamer, Wed., Aug. 25 2010 @ 3:10PM

From Going Concern:

25 Aug 2010
Albany Risks Outright Anarchy Enforcing Taxes on Sliced Bagels
By Caleb Newquist
The battle between California and New York for the biggest fiscal shitshow has reached new heights as Albany seems to be going after New Yorkers where it really counts.
We think we speak for everyone, when we say, “What. The. Fuck. Albany?” This is what it has come to? The dire fiscal needs of the Empire State have gotten to the point that you’re shaking down bagel shops for an extra 9¢ per bagel? Granted, that may be a lot – A LOT – of bagels but you’re applying the smallest bandage in the box to a gaping head wound. A head wound that has caused many to think that the next step is to put a tourniquet on the neck of the state government.

You really want to kill the will of the people? Just keep shit like this up. Next thing you know they’ll start slapping the tax on pizza unless you buy the whole pie…unsliced.

A few days ago, I thought this tax was ridiculous. Philadelphia now requires all bloggers to register as a business–paying $300 for the privilege. As most of us know, Google Adsense brings in barely enough money to pay webhosting fees for the majority of bloggers. There usually is no “profit,” and even if there is, it’s taxed along with a blogger’s personal income. From the Examiner:

Philly requiring bloggers to pay $300 for a business license
By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
08/22/10 5:10 PM EDT

The people must revolt against these nickel and dime taxes. The problem is overly generous public employee tax-free pensions, not sliced bagels.

Forget the tea party. We need a bagel party. Or maybe a tea and bagel party.


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