Dave's Column

April 12th

 

Dave Richards for April 12th…………

--Last week I wrote about restoring tax exempt status to the property of religious and non-profit organizations. I expected to hear from a number of people disagreeing with me but I didn’t hear from anyone at all. But I did hear something this past week which is somewhat on the same topic.

I heard that nearly half of the automobiles registered to Woonsocket residents are so old that the city gets little or no taxes from them. Well, I’m sure that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but as with all good exaggerations there is probably a bit of truth to it.

Thinking back in time I remember that the whole idea of taxing automobiles was to try to spread the tax burden out more fairly. People who rent apartments don’t directly pay property taxes on their homes, it was said, so let’s tax their cars. As with any idea, going back to the time of Solomon The Wise, in trying to make things fair, you end up making them more unfair. Now people who owned their own homes got taxed on their homes AND their cars. And considering renters, if you think for one minute that a large chunk of their ever-increasing rent payment isn’t going to pay the taxes on the building they live in, guess again. Nothing is as simple as it looks.

There was a time at the very beginning of this century when the state government tried to reverse that law and not tax cars. They came up with a plan to replace the money the municipal governments would lose and proposed to phase-in the plan over several years. But before it could be fully phased-in, THAT wonderful idea got side-tracked by the Great Recession about 8 years ago. And it has never gotten back on track since then.

Many people agree with me that laws should be updated as times change. They tried. They stopped trying. Now, they’re still taxing cars and, either due to the economy or to other factors, people are keeping their cars so long that the tax revenue is not meeting expectations. Come to think of it, MY car is 11 years old, and The Fabulous Denise’s buggy is a year older than mine. They are paid-off and are still running well, and I just don’t see the need to replace them right now. It’s not a “tax-dodge”. It’s reality. Cars are lasting longer and there’s no good reason to replace them so frequently. Expect changes to address this, my friends.

--I read a lot of history and even for me it is hard to imagine a Presidential Race could ever be more vicious and divisive than this one. Let’s see. There was one, back in 1780, when a candidate claimed in public that his opponent wasn’t a man, physically. A high insult, back in those times. That wouldn’t work in this campaign because one of the candidates really isn’t a man, physically. There was another pretty bad campaign in the early 1800s in which one of the candidates called the other’s wife a whore. Come to think of it, that’s already been done in this campaign. And we all know what happened when the Republican won the office in 1860, half the states seceded from the Union. Talk about divisive!

Yes, when it comes to the office of the President of the United States there’s a lot of “the bigger the prize, the dirtier the fight” going on. And nobody is yet running for the actual office itself, only to be the nominee of a major political party to then run for the office. I find myself going into overload if I pay attention to it for very long and I honestly try to ignore as much as I can and still stay reasonably informed. But it’s so pervasive that it forces itself upon us, regardless.

Take for example the other day when I was driving in my car outside the range of my favorite local radio station just scanning around the dial to see what was on and I stumbled upon what sounded like one of those nationally distributed talk shows. They were talking about the political races, as you may expect. And just as I tuned in one of the two announcers made the statement that the world has never seen a race like this one. I know on these kinds of shows people will say anything, just to get attention, but he got mine enough to listen for a few seconds more to see if he could back up his statement. Then he started talking about the civil disobedience of the 1960s and the protests of Dr. Martin Luther King and compared them to Trump supporters of today assaulting protesters and—here’s a quote now, “Trump supporters parking on grave stones.” ……. Huh? I re-ran the comment in my mind. He wasn’t laughing. He wasn’t joking. I’d never heard of such a thing. But then I asked myself, “Why is this statement ‘believable’ to me?” And shut I the radio off, congratulating myself that I don’t listen to that stuff regularly.

Later I heard that over 20,000 people in California and nationally have signed a petition demanding that Mr. Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame be removed. Personally, I didn’t know he had one, but he does and he was awarded it by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for his work in TV. Is there no limit to the way this man can divide people? It’s only April. And I can’t bear to look…………..

--That’s what I think. What do you think? Comments to: dave@onworldwide.com or postal mail to Dave Richards, WOON Radio, 985 Park Avenue, Woonsocket, RI 02895-6332.

Thanks for reading.

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