Friday, February 20, 2009

Hello, everyone.  It looks to be a nice sunny, but cold, day.  However, tonight and into tomorrow we are expecting a winter storm.  The alert goes into effect at 11 pm tonight.  We watched the weather reports over the last couple of days as the predictions went from a couple of inches to 3-5 inches to over 'half a foot.'  Winter, it seems, won't give up without a fight.

I find it very interesting that every time any level of government has a problem meeting its budget they decide to increase the 'sin taxes.'  We heard that the Federal government is planning to raise the cigarette tax to $1/pack.  Just asked Mom if it was in effect.  She would know.  I have also read about sporadic efforts in various areas to raise the alcohol taxes.  The San Francisco Chronicle has this article summarizing those proposals.  I came to it by way of Mark Morford who has a humorous take on this trend in his blog.  I remember reading some years ago that the governments of the last Czars recognized rampant alcoholism was a serious problem.  However, they refused to do anything to discourage excess drinking.  Why?  The alcohol taxes were a mainstay of their budgets.  

Here is another interesting little story from by way of by way of Mark Morford (above.)  The Governor of Massachusetts wants to implement a plan over the next several years tax all residents for the number of miles they drive.  A GPS tracking chip embedded in the vehicle inspection stickers would allow the state to keep track of the number of miles each driver travels.  I have some mixed feelings about this.  I don't like the notion that some one, somewhere can see how much I drive and where.  It is none of their business.  Also, I think back to last summer when the Indiana and Illinois toll roads raised their prices for all drivers who did not use their automatic system involving an expensive transmitter keyed to your credit card (or other automatic pay system).  That is, for all drivers who pay cash.  Mom and I visit my sister or nephew three or four times a year.  The toll road had been a nice, easy, quick way to go that wasn't overly expensive.  Only about $.70 per round trip.  That has tripled now.  The new price wouldn't be bad but we are totally pissed off that cash payers are singled out for this increase.  We haven't driven the toll road since.

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