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Ryan Bakken, Forum News Service, Published February 03 2013

Ryan Bakken: The perfect tax plan

GRAND FORKS - Last week, a Grand Forks legislator proposed to more than double the state tax on cigarettes.

I agree.

Why? Because I don’t smoke, so it wouldn’t cost me a cent. In fact, it likely would lower my tax share indirectly.

That’s the way it works with most people. If you pay more in taxes, you don’t like it. If it shifts the burden elsewhere, it’s a good idea.

Eliot Glassheim, the Grand Forks legislator in question, said his proposal isn’t a way to raise more money for government. Instead, its purpose is to provide another incentive to quit smoking.

(If that’s the case, Eliot, you can mail the extra $30 million in annual taxes to a certain residence in Thompson, N.D.)

Proposed tax changes also were in the news across the river last week. Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton suggested a tax plan that included some reductions, such as property taxes, and some increases, such as the sales taxes. The net result is a $2.2 billion net tax increase, which has Republicans howling.

I’m no different than Glassheim or Dayton. I have my own 10-point plan on how to adjust taxes, listed below:

1. Anyone under the age of 61 would pay extra, per year.

2. Anyone taller than 5-foot-7 would pay extra, per inch.

3. Residents would be charged for each frown, with rebates for each smile, a formula that might require Dave Hakstol to moonlight.

4. Each Kardashian would pay an obnoxious tax for existing, with an extra levy per word spoken.

5. Higher taxes on three-piece suits, lower taxes on polo shirts.

6. No sales tax for female newspaper food critics who review chain restaurants.

7. Oil revenue kickbacks from the Bakken Formation, shared by anyone whose last name is either Bakken or Formation.

8. Institute good-hair tax.

9. Institute per-tweet tax

10. Increased sales taxes on hair gel, combs, cauliflower, rutabagas and deer antler spray.