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Another Sales Tax Increase -- Go Figure

May 12, 2003

Gov. Gray Davis' administration is planning to increase the sales tax by half a cent ("State Weighs a Tax Hike," May 7). As a business owner in California, I am a sales-tax collector. Each time a sale is rung on my cash register, I must add and collect this tax. I did not ask for this job and, if I had a choice, I would refuse it. The sales tax laws are complicated and the record-keeping is time-consuming and difficult.

Periodically, I am subject to a thorough audit and, if I have made a mistake, I have to pay not only the taxes I failed to collect but penalties as well. For example, most food is not taxable. Soda is taxable. Carbonated apple juice is not soda. It is not taxable. Go figure. By the way, these snacks are only a small sideline for me. I sell magazines, books and videos. Most Internet companies that compete with me do not collect California sales tax. President Bush wants to give a tax break to create more jobs. I guess in California we can all hire more people to calculate the sales tax.

Karen Heller Mason

Los Angeles

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