Saturday, July 21, 2007

Lungs and Taxes

If I stay in Australia much longer, I'm going broke. Cigarettes cost an arm and a leg. The cheapest I've found so far costs $13 per pack of 30 sticks. That's 16.50 Pesos per stick. Ouch. You can only buy ciggies in certain places. I suppose the most common are in the news shops and in the grocery. I found it curious that in the grocery the ciggies are hidden from view. They keep them behind an opaque glass case. The case is covered with a Quit Smoking hotline. You never see cigarette ads on TV. There are plenty of Quit Smoking ad reminders from the government and Nicabate (the Aussie Nicorette version) commercials. They REALLY want you to quit so they have all these helpful reminders and they tax cigs to the heavens.

Speaking of taxes, my favourite economist and TV personality Winnie Monsod writes in her column how the Tax Amnesty Bill surreptitiously passed into law:
It took them nine years, but they did it. They finally succeeded in pushing a tax amnesty bill into law. And it was so quietly (the more accurate word may be “sneakily”) done that I didn’t even know it until I read it in one of the newspapers a couple of days ago—the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the tax amnesty law are already being prepared and will be released very soon.
Winnie must have been very upset by this news because this is the strongest language I've read from her column so far:
Yet another example of the common good being sacrificed for personal interests. Another example of tax-paying Juan de la Cruz getting the short end of the stick in favor of the cheats and evaders—with no more white knights in the Senate to save him.
Nine years these tax evaders lobbied government to be "forgiven" their debt to the Filipino. They must be very happy their "investments" paid off. In the meantime, we of the salaried-about-t0-be-extinct Middle Class have no such recourse. I think its bizarre how they named it "An Act Enhancing Revenue Administration and Collection By Granting an Amnesty on All Unpaid Internal Revenue Taxes Imposed by the National Government For Taxable Year 2005 and Prior Years." How does it enhance revenue collection when you let tax evaders get away? This government must really love George Orwell.

If you're curious, read the Senate Bill 2479 for yourself here. Don't you just looove the internet?

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