One of our regulars sent this from out of town (I’m not identifying him for now on account of his being out of town):
We’re up in New Hampshire visiting my mother. Thought you’d be interested to hear what I have observed — in four days of driving around the small towns of NH, I’ve yet to see a yard sign for McCain. But I’ve seen at least ten for Ron Paul. No Obama’s either.
And I don’t know if you’ve ever been up here but it’s a somewhat unsettling experience to go into Wal-Mart and buy $99.75 worth of stuff and pay ZERO sales tax. And on top of that, NH has no income tax either. How do they manage to survive without taxing everything? (yes, higher property taxes but with much less government also). If it weren’t for the snow, I think my wife and I would consider retiring here. I hate snow almost as much as I hate taxes.
This message reminds me of something I meant to pass on from my recent trip to Memphis, which is the polar opposite of New Hampshire when it comes to sales taxes.
The first day we were there, I was driving to the new home of one of my wife’s kinfolks — way out past Collierville, I believe, to the very limits of suburban development, which if you know Memphis means way out East — and traversing all that sprawl caused me to work up a powerful thirst. So we stopped at a new Kroger (right across from a new Starbucks, of course), and I got a bottled water, and a diet Pepsi for my youngest daughter.
It got my attention when the total was exactly $3.00, so after I fed the three ones into the self-checkout apparatus, I looked at my receipt: Yep, 22 cents of it was sales tax. (See the receipt below.)
The reason Tennessee has such outrageous sales tax rates is that the state has no income tax, and none on the horizon (when ex-Gov. Don Sundquist tried to get one enacted, he had his head handed to him). We do have an income tax, but we are hard on Tennessee’s heels when it comes to sales tax. If Richland County manages to pass the penny for local transportation needs, we won’t be far behind.
The reason, in our case, is the severe restrictions placed by the state on local governments’ ability to raise revenue through other means, combined with South Carolina’s utter failure to come to grips with road construction needs at the state level. In the Volunteer State, local governments have wheel taxes and the like to fund roads and other transport needs and wants. (Also, local governments build and maintain far more of Tennessee’s roads; the state of South Carolina reserves to itself the right to mismanage most of our roads.) Or at least they did back when I lived there. If someone has more up-to-date info, it will be welcome.