Editor's Column: Governor discovers new tax source

It took eight years, but Gov. Gary Locke finally proved he’s a pioneer, a true leader who has ignited the torch of hope for thousands of public servants who didn’t know from whence their next fiscal infusion was coming.

What the governor did in the waning days of his otherwise lackluster eight-year administration was discover an entirely new source of tax revenue for our elected leaders to exploit. Regular taxpayers had been sucked drier than a Texas oil well, so this was like finding a new source of untapped crude in the Caspian.

Olympia needed a new revenue source like a heroin addict needs another fix, and Gov. Locke found it for them. He targeted a group of people previously considered revenue parasites, not revenue producers. He hit these deadbeats with a tax that will hurt while producing millions of dollars for state bureaucrats to dispense, largely to their own pay and benefits. In short, henceforth, with legislative approval, these societal drags, previously known as children, will pay a 5-cent tax every time they guzzle a can or bottle of soda pop.

It’s part of Gov. Locke’s sin tax package that also includes additional taxes on beer and spirits, what with tobacco having been taxed a mile past the point of diminishing returns. But it’s the soda pop tab that plows new tax base ground, as it loudly announces that the free ride is over for kids — it’s time for them to start paying the government piper.

There’s also a spiritual element to the tax, as Gov. Locke has declared soda pop to be a sin, something which God entirely overlooked.

The deity apparently didn’t notice the Hebrews were swilling Pepsi and Mountain Dew as they fashioned the golden calf while Moses was up on Ararat collecting stone tablets. Hopefully room can now be made to chisel in Locke’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not imbibe in carbonated beverages.”

Now that Gov. Locke has tapped into the children’s market for taxes, there’s appears to been an endless field of opportunity. The obvious next target is candy. A 5-cent tax on Snickers alone would bring in enough in a single week to fund the next governor’s first trade mission to Tahiti. Broaden the tax to all candy, and everyone gets a raise!

No stopping at pop and candy. Tax comic books, coloring books, crayons, computer games, chewing gum and toys. Require bicycle licenses, registration fees and odomoters to be taxed by the mile, and if they decide to walk tax their sneakers and argyles.

Thanks to Gov. Locke’s vision, little children will lead us out of our economic slump and cause our bureaucratic coffers to overflow with new tax revenue. And the best thing about it is they can’t even vote.

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