Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Let the crumb-bum pay!

I’m starting to wonder if finding someone to blame, then making them pay some sort of fee that allegedly will erase the problem they cause, is the latest tactic for governmental units trying to raise funds.

PRECKWINKLE: Looking for cash
Earlier this year, the state gave its approval to a new law that charges a fee on top of the cover charge assessed by many strip clubs. Money from that fee paid by men who feel the need to check out some “jugs” or “buns” will go toward a state program that will provide financial help for clinics that deal with rape victims.

THE SAME THEORY seems to be at work in a proposal that the Chicago Sun-Times says is being considered by the Cook County Board to come up with money to balance out their budget for 2013.

Specifically, the newspaper says that county board President Toni Preckwinkle wants to charge a “violence” tax on firearms and their ammunition sold out in the suburbs.

We really don’t have gun stores within the city limits, so this would impact the people who use such shops to purchase their weapons (somehow, I doubt the street dealers who provide the bulk of illegally-purchased firearms are paying any taxes to the county).

In talking to the Sun-Times, Preckwinkle aides admit that such a tax isn’t going to raise huge sums of money. It reads more like this is meant to make a statement that these firearms are causing serious, and in many cases, fatal injuries.

SO PERHAPS SUCH a tax is appropriate in trying to raise enough money to maintain the county hospital system, along with the courts and county jail that have to incarcerate many of those who get caught committing various versions of ‘unlawful use of a weapon.’

Personally, it doesn’t bother me to learn that firearms owners are being hit with such a fee. I don’t own such weapons. The selfish part of my personality says, “It won’t hurt me.”

But the reporter-type person in me has dealt with the activists who fight on behalf of this issue, and I’m fairly confident they’re going to take up this cause with all the fury and anger they can arouse.

The real question will be to figure whether Preckwinkle is just trying to score herself some cheap political points at this moment of time – only to let the issue drop once we get closer to the day in December when the Cook County Board will actually have to decide what should, and should not, be in the county budget.

SOMEHOW, I SUSPECT this is going to fall into that latter category. It provides a lot of cheap rhetoric to bolster Preckwinkle’s ego, but likely will never result in anything resembling public policy.

All talk. No action.

Perhaps we ought to acknowledge Toi Hutchinson for at least pushing her idea (the strip club fee that the more sarcastic of pundits dubbed the “pole tax”) through to the point where it become something resembling law.

She got something done, even though the kind of people who want to view an ammunition and weapons tax as somehow unjust, unfair and un-American are the same ones who earlier this year were defending a man’s right to see some boobies without having to know that some of his cover charge will support rape-crisis centers.

I SAY IF it makes that particular guy think for just a moment about the tawdriness of his behavior, then perhaps that fee is worth it.

Such as perhaps a weapons fee might make a person think about whether they truly needed to have this particular firearm – or was this purchase about nothing more than their egos feeling shriveled.

Making the purchase nothing more than a form of Viagra for their minds.


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