Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fun with Sin Taxes

Here's another old column of mine from April 2004. I usually try to stay away from politics, but when an elected official does something extraordinarily goofy, I can't resist.

By Deana Nall

The Baytown Sun

Dear President Bush,

I know you're up to your eyeballs in issues of global importance right now, but I thought I'd fill you in on what's going on in your home state.

There's this guy named Rick Perry who took over after you left. Maybe you remember him.
Anyway, Gov. Perry has a rather intriguing idea for funding Texas public schools. He's proposing that Texans smoke, gamble and "adult entertain" their way to better schools for their kids.

Perry calls this being "fiscally responsible." Other people call it "living in Austin too long." The air or water or something up there tends to make people nutty. Walk around the campus of the University of Texas some time. You'll see what I mean.

But I'd like to hear the governor out. The more I think about this, the more I can see the benefits from this brilliant plan.
Imagine a 3-A high school in Anytown, Texas, a few years from now. Anytown High School has a brand new, state-of-the-art gymnasium named after Fred Hackenkoff. Was Mr. Hackenkoff a retired school district superintendent? Or a beloved coach?

Nope. Mr. Hackenkoff had a six-pack-a-day Marlboro habit. And he smoked enough to build those kids a gym.

Sure, he killed himself smoking. Hacked his lungs right onto the sidewalk one day. But what a nice gym. The folks of Anytown couldn't be more proud.

And you wouldn't believe the new band uniforms at Anytown High. Band nerds no more; these kids look sharp. And it's all thanks to Joe Gawksalott, who left his wife and eight kids at home every night to patronize "Lone Star Leggz," Anytown's only strip club.

Now there's a man who cares about the education of young Texans. I heard he ran off with one of those strippers, but talk about a local hero!

I think Perry's plan could be further developed to expedite revenues from these sin taxes into our schools. Why not build schools to house topless bars? That way, Dad could have lunch with Junior in the school cafeteria while contributing to his child's education by tucking a twenty into the G-string of someone named "Luscious."

And if a teacher or librarian needs to order new materials the budget won't cover? All she has to do is yell down the hall, "Hey! Somebody light up a cigarette!" and she'll have the funds she needs in no time.

Let's get the kids in on the fun! Schools can implement programs such as "The Great American Smoke-In," "Video Poker Olympics" and "Adopt-A-Stripper" to get our children involved in these previously undesirable habits early on. We want them to grow up to support public education, don't we?

Again, I know you're busy, what with the war and campaign going on. But if things don't work out for you in November, we'd love for you to come back home and support the education of Texas schoolchildren. Under Perry's plan, all you'd have to do is start smoking, gambling and hanging out at the "Fantasy Cabaret."

I'm sure Laura won't mind. It's all for education, you know.


Deana Nall
Baytown, TX

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