Watch Out for the Fat Police

They’re coming.  Take Illinois, f’rinstance.

            “Some of the current research is talking about a penny or two cents an ounce as needed to be expensive enough to affect consumption,” noted Illinois Public Health Institute CEO Elissa Bassler, recently, with reference to the increasing attention being paid to societal costs associated with packing too many LBs.

            Bassler went on to note that, “Maybe changing the ways we use beverages can be a part of handling obesity.”

            And can anybody show us where in the Constitutions (federal or state) is any reference to any of this being the business of public policy-makers?

            We doubt it.

            Likewise, though we disagree with the practice of puffing “cigarettes” to achieve euphoria, what gives Berkeley, California, the right to tax medicinal and/or recreational marijuana in the event Proposition 19 is passed by California voters in November?

            Quoth Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, “If 19 passes in November it’s going to be a whole different ball game.  We’ll have to go back and figure out how we’re going to regulate it, how we’re going to sell it, how we’re going to allow it to be embraced.”

            Sound like anything with which you are already familiar–like the IRS and the California FTB, whose mission in life is to regulate and enforce?  We hope California is ready for more bureaucracy like this.

            And speaking of finding more and more things to tax, how about your private foundation, all of you wealthy folk out there?

            You may (or may not) have noticed that California recently examined a measure that would have pried into the operations of private foundations–demanding that they publish the race, gender and sexual orientation of their trustees, and of the leaders of the charities they support. 

            The measure didn’t pass (yet), though as noted in a recent National Review  comment, the issue is far from dead.  Especially considering the view of California Democrat Xavier Becerra, House Ways and Means Committee member, who has referred to the tax treatment of charitable donations as a “$32 billion earmark.”


            Seems Becerra, in espousing the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, believes foundations should spend at least half of their bucks on

“lower-income communities, communities of color, and other marginalized groups,” and that grantors should spend at least a quarter of their  donations on “advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement to promote equity, opportunity, and justice in our society.”

            Laudable goals, indeed.  But within the purview of Federal tax policy?  Is the idea to raise money to fund limited government, or to engineer social do-gooddies?  The line keeps getting blurred.

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

            Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He is also a contributor to the recently published 13th edition of Tax Savvy for Small Business, published by Nolo.  He can be reached at 831-7288, and welcomes comments at below.

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