Does your state suffer from a plague of politicians complaining about high taxes? If so, ask your spin doctor about SNOT-RX.
SNOT-RX stands for the Strimling-Nass Omnibus Tax Reform and, uh, eXpansion. It’s the new sedative from the laboratories of state senators Ethan Strimling, a liberal Democrat from Portland, and Richard Nass, a conservative Republican from Acton. Because SNOT-RX contains elements from both the right and left, it works like no other miracle cure for voters tired of listening to elected officials whine about how awful things are.
Keep in mind it doesn’t actually make things less awful. It just stops the whining.
SNOT-RX is not for everyone. Before taking it, make sure your finances are secure, preferably in offshore accounts. Side effects may include nausea, high blood pressure, and decisions to move to New Hampshire. Tourists should consult with their physicians before ingesting information about SNOT-RX, due to the danger of damage to the nervous system and wallet. In rare cases, patients who believe SNOT-RX has actually reduced their tax bills have also experienced strong convictions that Anna Nicole Smith’s baby was fathered by Elvis.
SNOT-RX is not approved to treat high taxes. It merely shifts the burden from a group scientists refer to as “some people” to subjects they label “other people.” It’s possible you qualify for both categories.
Here’s how SNOT-RX works. Like those drugs that raise “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol, this measure increases “good” taxes and decreases “bad” taxes. Unfortunately, only people who believe they’ve received personal invitations from Elvis to his baby’s christening think there’s any such thing as “good” taxes.
Instead, there are “bad” taxes and “worse” taxes. A “bad” tax would be the income tax, which discourages prosperity. A “worse” tax would be a levy on columnists who “overuse” quotation marks.
SNOT-RX lowers the income tax’s top rate from 8.5 percent to 6.99 percent. Other brackets are reduced as well, so, most people would save money. Which is “good” because most people would also pay “increased” sales taxes. This proposal calls for expanding that tax to cover snacks, services, and recreation, as well as higher taxes on meals, lodging, and alcohol.
That would raise an additional $180 million each year (dollar amounts are based on figures supplied by Strimling). If that tax hike makes you queasy, find relief in the income-tax cut, which would offset about $130 million of it. The rest would be covered by tourists, who’d allegedly pay 28 percent of the extra sales taxes, roughly $50 million.
So, SNOT-RX is a wash.
Except it’s not supposed to be. According to Strimling, his plan would produce $127 million in savings for Maine residents. Depending on how you define “Maine residents.”
SNOT-RX also calls for property tax relief. But that relief will only be available to those who meet stringent criteria. Such as being unusually gullible. The bill would increase the Homestead Exemption, the amount of a primary home’s value that isn’t subject to property taxes, from $13,000 to $50,000. For a house valued at $200,000, that’s a 25-percent reduction in the tax bill.