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Tax silliness not limited to Georgia government

While Halloween may be officially over, this is one of those things you just can't let go because it makes you go "huh?"

In the history of guvmint knife twisting, this Halloween was an evil one for some folks. In this case we're not talking about Georgia guvmint or even the federal guvmint, but the guvmint of Iowa.

It seems in Iowa the tax man decided that pumpkins were used more for decorating than for eating, so the famous symbol of Halloween should not be considered a food and was therefore not eligible for tax-exempt status.

In years past, the pumpkin was considered an edible squash and as such was a tax-exempt food. But as a decoration item, you have to pay a tax.

If Iowa is in such bad financial shape that you have to impose a tax on pumpkins, then the rest of the country needs to pass the hat or maybe send them a few rolls of pennies you have hidden away in some shoe box.

And you know what happens if you give the tax man a chance at your wallet. One day pumpkins, the next day corn.

What all that proves is that when it comes to guvmint, state or federal with room left over for some counties and cities, stupid knows no limit.

If Iowa can tax a pumpkin under the dubious idea than someone may carve it rather than chew it, then the tax door is open to every tax collector everywhere.

We can only hope other guvmints don't get wind of the Iowa Great Pumpkin Tax because, as Goober said, stupid is as stupid does.

Don't be surprised if right here in Georgia, within the next few months, Gov. Sonny Perdue doesn't declare all-out war on the drought and announce that a device will be placed on all toilets to monitor their use, and anyone who pulls the handles more than twice a day will be charged a flush tax.

Georgia Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson wants to get rid of all property taxes in Georgia and offset them with a sales tax on all goods and services.

Can you imagine what a pumpkin will cost in Georgia if this plan goes through? And I shudder to think how much a watermelon might cost.

At this point, the only time an average person gets involved with anything that might be considered tax exempt is if you are paying off gambling debts to a guy named Linnie who chopped off your left hand as an interest payment.

The ax he used might be considered tax exempt because he could write it off as a business expense.

But in yet another oddity of guvmint, in Iowa you could still apparently purchase a pumpkin as a tax-free item if you filled out a form stating it was your plan to eat it rather than turn it into a jack-'o'-lantern.

Fill out a form to eat a pumpkin?

"Are you going to eat this pumpkin or carve it into a face?"

"I'm going to let it rot and then throw it at the tax man."

"Then I have to charge you tax."

"I'd be proud to pay."

When the technical aspects of pumpkin use become a tax issue, it is time for someone to get medication. Of course, we could have a form for everything in order to make certain if taxes should be paid or not.

"This is a Christmas tree, so you have to pay tax."

"It's not for decoration, it's for a salad."

"No tax."

Of course, lying on the form will no doubt be some sort of tax evasion, and you could find yourself in trouble with the federal guvmint and end up in the big house.

"What you in for?"

"Misuse of a pumpkin."

"And I though Al Capone had it tough."

And then, just when you think all hope is lost, you hear the voice of reason, perhaps late but better late than never.

On Halloween Day, the governor of the great state of Iowa, Chet Culver, put the pumpkin back on the list of tax-exempt foods and announced that the tax man was way off-base with the ridiculous plan.

The problem is that the idea ever came up to begin with, and we have people in office who are unreasonable and downright silly. This is not an indictment of officials in Iowa, because they have not cornered the market on silly and unreasonable when it comes to taxes.

Just look at Glenn Richardson.

Ric Latarski is a senior staff writer for the Citizen newspapers. E-mail him at ric.latarski@rockdalecitizen.com.