So, What Is A “Stupid Tax” ?

As these posts have gotten more irreverent, more people seem to be reading.  So to continue the trend I will be explaining one of my favorite economic concepts – the stupid tax.  New Jersey has many taxes, some readily known and many hidden.  Everyone knows you have a property tax.You have probably heard of the income tax and  gas tax as well.  Other taxes are “hidden” – they increase the costs of things that then get passed on to you.  Take the waste paper tax.  Do you know what that is?  Places that serve food, like Burger King, are taxed on the paper they use to wrap hamburgers and such.  Ostensibly, the tax is to cover the cost of the landfills or trash pick-up because the wrappers are thrown in the garbage.  However, the food seller does not really pay the tax.  Correct that.  They pay it initially, but then pass it on to you by raising the price a penny or two.  The “Stupid Tax” is also a hidden tax.  When your town buys things it does not need – like paying for pinstripes on the public works dump truck – you are being charged a “stupid tax”.   A local official’s folly or ignorance that results in money being wasted and the need to raise more money to pay for things that really are necessities is a “stupid tax” – paying more because of foolish decisions.  The Open Public Records Act (OPRA ) is often a “stupid tax”.  It is the price you pay because your government officials are stupid act in a way that does not conform to the law.  Take the case I just filed today.  My client sought records from the police department about a crime that was committed and where the alleged criminals were apprehended in Egg Harbor Township.  Egg Harbor denied the request on the basis that the crime was “an indictable offense”!?!  That is not a legal basis to deny access to records under OPRA.  Hence Egg Harbor Township taxpayers will be paying my bill when my client prevails.  They will being paying ONLY because someone is stupid incorrect in their assessment of the law.  Hence the name “stupid tax”.  Judge for yourself.  Here is the Complaint  and Legal Brief  and Certification of Ancillary Facts .  How can reporters be given information and it make the national news, but it must be kept secret from property owners down the street?  I will let you know what Judge Johnson does.

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