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The Most Interesting New “Taxes” Across the USA

The Most Interesting New “Taxes” Across the USA

In these difficult economic times, with governments at all levels (federal, state and municipal) struggling to balance their books while not increasing taxes on increasingly strapped citizens, some authorities are developing new and interesting ways to raise revenues.

July 1st is the first day in the new fiscal year for many states, so some of the new laws just took effect on that date. And while they may be termed “fines” or “penalties,” don’t mistake them for anything but new ways for governments to raise revenue without actually being seen to “increase taxes.”

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    Anti-Slow Poke Fine

    Florida has enacted the one fine that we all wish was in effect on every highway that we drive: the slow-poke fine. If you’re caught ambling along at 10 miles below the posted speed limit in the far left (aka passing) lane, you can be fined $60 as part of a brand-new “road rage” law.

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    This slow-poke ticket would also hit your driver’s license the same as would a speeding ticket, meaning it can increase your insurance rates. So if you tend to view the speed limit as something to be avoided, stay out of the “fast” lane or face the music.

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      Anti-Bullying Fine

      In tiny Monona, WI, the citizens have a zero tolerance for bullying. In this town, population 7500, bullying can range from schoolyard skirmishes to neighborhood disputes, and includes cyber-bullying as well as physical harassment.

      The penalty ranges from $114 for a first offense to $177 for a second, and parents can be penalized for their children’s actions once a warning has been issued.

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        Anti-Smoking Taxes

        Minnesota has just increased its tax per package of cigarettes from $1.23 to $2.83, making it the 6th highest tax in the country. New York state still reigns at the top of the list, though, with a tax of $4.85 per pack.

        Of course, all these high cigarette taxes tend to encourage inter-state smuggling, which is another issue entirely. The idea behind the high cigarette taxes, besides raising revenues, is that at some point a consumer will decide that the cost is too high, and will hopefully quit smoking.

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          Higher Taxes for Summer Drivers

          Eight states have higher gasoline taxes going into effect just in time for summer vacations. Since gas taxes tend to be channeled into road and bridge repairs, this measure is meant to align the cost with the drivers with the highest use.

          Wyoming raised its tax by ten cents per gallon, followed by Connecticut (4 cents), Maryland (4 cents), California (3.5 cents), North Carolina (2.5 cents), Georgia (2.5 cents), and Kentucky (2.4 cents). Two states, Virginia and Vermont, did actually choose to lower their gas taxes. Three states (Washington, Oregon and Texas) are evaluating some sort of VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) tax on electric vehicles, in order to assess owners of those vehicles for their use of the states roads and bridges. Since those vehicles don’t purchase gas and therefore don’t pay gas taxes (either state or federal), they are not paying a share of the upkeep and repair expenses.

          Virginia has addressed this issue already with a green-vehicle fee that is charged in addition to the normal registration fee on a vehicle. Owners of hybrid and pure-electric vehicles pay an annual $64 charge, under the assumption that they do not pay as much in gasoline taxes as drivers of conventional vehicles.

          Other Unusual Taxes

          If you buy a bagel in New York City, you have to pay a tax if you want the vendor to slice it, toast it or spread cream cheese on it for you. 8%, as a matter of fact, illustrating the difference between a bagel purchased for home consumption (tax exempt) and a bagel for on-site consumption (8% tax).

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          In Utah, businesses that hire nude or partially nude employees pay a 10% tax on services sold. Targeted at erotic dance clubs and escort services, the revenues go for treatment for sex offenders and investigation of internet crimes against children. And Maryland charges all homeowners and businesses a $2.50 per month sewage tax, which is also known as the “flush tax.”

          So the next time you’re faced with a tax that you think is unfair or ridiculous, think about some of the taxes in other states. You could be paying a blueberry tax, if you live in Maine, or a tax on fruit from vending machines if you live in California.

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          Simon Andras

          Simon is an entrepreneur who blogs about lifestyle.

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          Last Updated on November 24, 2020

          10 Steps To Help You Make Your First Million Dollars

          10 Steps To Help You Make Your First Million Dollars

          Money may not be everything, but the things it could afford makes certain things so much easier. While it can’t afford true love, kindness, passion and wisdom, certain processes becomes much more efficient. A million dollar today compared to a million dollar ages ago is indeed a lot different in terms of value. At the present, it is more possible to make your first million if you really want it. Especially, there are many ways the world can offer to help you make your first million dollars.

          Believe you are capable, and you’ll get there. Here are 10 ways to ensure you will reach that goal:

          1. Stop planning, start doing

          “If you wait, all that happens is that you get older!” – Mario Andretti

          The first step is sometimes the most challenging step. If you want to get ahead, you should know not only where to go but also when you are going to perform your first move. Planning alone won’t make you succeed. Too much preparation won’t get your things done. So start doing and remain focused on the goal you’ve set. For example, if you want to earn more money through your current job, seek to have a promotion within the organization or find a company that will help you increase your salary. It’s always about starting to take upon yourself the beliefs and habits of highly successful people.

          2. Define your priorities

          It’s not enough to simply become busy, give most of your attention to what matters the most and what is important to you. Make sure these priorities you create will continue to support your goal. For example, you want to own a brand new car. What exact amount do you need to feel accomplished? What are your ways and means to make it? These are the questions you probably need to ask so you can begin constructing your priorities list. Let’s say, less spending on home furniture can give you more saving that can accumulate until you achieve your dream car.

          3. Track your gains and losses

          Sometimes you need to take a look back and see the big picture to realize what you have and where you are today. Tracking your gains and losses means monitoring your past activities to come up with a conclusion regarding your progress. Based on your conclusion, you can decide what you should do next.

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          4. Make an investment

          Invest in something that will accumulate wealth. Invest in assets and avoid too much liabilities. Investment is like watching your plants grow. How much you keep matters more than how much you spend. Make saving a habit. Save while you can.

          5. Be patient

          No successful person will think he can make tons of money overnight. Many have found themselves in debt because of too much living in the now. While there are many people as well who really get their patience paid off. Patience works to most people. Being patient doesn’t mean waiting while doing nothing. Remember: no aspiring millionaire is a couch potato.

          6. Work with what you have and make the most out of it

          Instead of thinking about what you lack, focus on what you have and what amazing things you can do with it. Spend your time and energy wisely.

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          7. Expand your knowledge

          “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” – Socrates

          There are several exciting ways to improve your knowledge and perspective about what’s new in your field, it’s endless. It is important so you don’t get stuck to one thing. Have courage to push that goal, you have to keep moving, you have to get deep.

          8. Establish routine

          Be careful with your actions, you become what you do. Begin each morning with a clear mind and definite plans. Stick faithfully to your routine and finish what you’ve started.

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          9. Adapt and develop

          You can only do better once you begin to recognize what you need to improve. Change is the only constant thing. Adapt new ways and new strategies to develop more effective results. The value of money is never stable, it changes over time. You have to keep an eye to those changes.

          10. Focus on your goal

          Keep a clear and determined mind constantly to avoid distractions that drain your energy and mislead you. Know your target and your purpose of getting there. Remind yourself everyday to attract favorable things.

          Featured photo credit: Giuliano Maiolini via flic.kr

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