Bureaucrat Beat: Bail-Out Weary, Don’t Tax the Artists, and Dumb Laws

We’ve heard from a lot of you out there about the torture of economic trouble and the $700 billion bail-out proposal. On the human level, it all adds up to the horrible fear of loss – of retirement funds, savings, family nest eggs, financial security and the prospect of not enough money to live. Our leaders have failed us. They didn’t regulate the greedy enough, and now they want Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to oversee the nearly trillion dollar bail-out.

Before he took the treasury job, Paulson worked as chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, an investment banking firm on Wall St. Too close for comfort?

Some top U.S. economists say we don’t need the $700 billion Wall St. Welfare. Others say we must have it. We in the Bureaucrat Beat newsroom don’t know. What we do know is the people of the Eastern Sierra and elsewhere have suffered with this financial disaster on a daily basis – only the amounts of money differ.

A Mammoth Lakes resident bemoaned this national tragedy and then pointed to what he called “the idiocy of our town – to charge a business tax to Mammoth Lakes’ musicians and artists who usually make nothing whenever they perform publicly. Ouch! Here’s a letter on the idea of a tax exemption for local performers. The president of the Music Society of the Eastern Sierra wrote this:

At the November 5th Town Council meeting you will be given an opportunity present why a tax exemption for performers is needed in the Town of Mammoth Lakes. Attorney Mirth White will provide a power-point demonstration showing the inconsistencies in the Town’s present code and then suggest an exemption, something similar to the Lompoc, CA exemption for part time artists, musicians, teachers, provided gross income does not exceed $2,625 per year (or some other amount).

It’s a huge task to ask the Town to re-write the law. That’s why we desperately need your support for this issue. A tax exemption is necessary to settle the age-old problem of unfair taxes for musicians, artists, and teachers receiving compensation for their art in Mammoth. If the council simply issues an “opinion”, a future council could easily overturn the “opinion” a few years later. Let’s move forward with a tax exemption and enable the arts in Mammoth Lakes to thrive and grow.

What do you need to do? You need to write letters to the papers, especially around 10/15, so that the letters appear before the Town Council meeting. Show up at the 11/5 meeting (en mass). Prepare a short presentation (5 minutes and under) to show the Town how the present taxes, if uniformly enforced, could destroy the Arts in Mammoth Lakes. Keep your comments short and bring lots of exhibits with graphs showing profit margins, etc.

If you have any question, please feel free to email, or call (934-2492). We are really putting energy into making this tax-exemption a reality.

Stephanie Everson
President, Music Society of the Eastern Sierra

On the national level, we let greedy billionaires run away with our peoples’ homes and our financial stability. Locally, folks in Mammoth just want to make sure government doesn’t run away with beauty. We need it.

And, finally, we just had to pass along a comment from Jon Boyer, who read our story about the hiker who answered his cell phone at night while on a Mt. Whitney trek and then walked right off a cliff. Boyer wrote:

California, the regulatory state, will probably pass another law: Walking and talking on the cell phone at the same time. Unfortunately, even California can’t legislate common sense. Good thing the guy wasn’t chewing gum at the time or he’d probably walk off the face of the earth.

Jon Boyer

Good to hear from you, Jon. From greed-ridden CEOs to sleepwalking hikers, I guess we just have to make laws.

With that, this is Benett Kessler signing off for Bureaucrat Beat where we await your word on our lives in the Eastern Sierra and beyond.

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