In 1964, the United States enacted the 24th Amendment, to stop the practice of taxing the right to vote:
The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax.
The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
In the 9-0 Supreme Court decision in Lubin vs. Panish 415 U.S. 709 (1974) “filing fees” to run for public office, a tax by any other name, were held to be unconstitutional when there was no provision for an alternative to people who could not afford to pay for the simple right to run for office, a right guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
So why should other Constitutional rights be taxed? Why should anybody have to pay for exercising any Constitutional right? A right is not a privilege.
Everything I do as a private investigator, like what attorneys, expert witnesses, process servers, and everybody else with a critical private sector role in the legal system is devoted to guaranteeing somebody their right to due process of law, as guaranteed by the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
The proposal of the Think Long Committee includes an across the board tax on all services, including those which involve the exercise of Constitutional rights:
• Broaden the tax base to include services.
• The new sales tax on services would be at a rate of 5 to 5.5% and would apply to all services, to businesses as well as to consumers, except for health care and educational services. Current projections show that the rate will need to be 5 1/8% to achieve the revenue gains targeted in the initiative. If the revenue increases turn out to be more robust than estimates, the rate could end up being less than 5%.
• To ease the transition to the new tax system, the tax rate would be phased in over a two year period as follows:
• 3% effective July 1, 2013, allowing 7 months after the enactment of the initiative on the November 2012 ballot for tax officials, businesses and consumers to prepare for the new tax.
• 4 % effective January 1, 2014, but the rate could be as high as 4.5%.
• 5% effective January 1, 2015, but the rate could be as high as 5.5%.
What about services that enable people to exercise their Constitutional right to free speech under the First Amendment?
Hopefully there will be exemptions for these services in the final proposal submitted to the voters, but this message must get to the Think Long Committee loud and clear before it’s even submitted to the voters.