Coffee heat rising

Here come the new taxes…

The City of Phoenix, strapped to the point of having to lay off firefighters and police officers, has decided to institute a sales tax on food sold in grocery stores, which we’ve never had before. The new bite will be 2 percent, added on top of the existing 8.3 percent tax we pay on every other retail item.

This will raise our retail tax, effectively, to 10.3 percent.

Doesn’t stop there, though: the state is about to float a referendum asking taxpayers to approve a “temporary” (har har!) 3 percent sales tax. This would raise our extra gouge in the grocery store to 15.3 percent!!!!

Holy mackerel.

It could pose a bit of a problem for me. Depending on how you look at the post-canning finances, over the course of a year, either I have almost no wriggle room or I have a fair amount of budgetary play. Because I don’t know which and will not know until a year passes and I see what happens, the only responsible tack I can take is to assume the worst: a very tight budget, indeed. In that case, an abrupt jump in costs for food and daily necessities could be a headache of marathon migraine proportions.

The only way for me to cope with an increase like that will be to ask SDXB to buy my food and household goods at the commissary and base exchange, where he pays no taxes.

This will be extremely inconvenient, because it will mean a) I will have to wait on his convenience, and he only shops about once a month; and b) I’ll have to drive way to Hell and gone out to Sun City to pick up my groceries. There’s also the issue that SDXB, being the extremely manly sort, doesn’t pay any excess of attention to what the Little Woman wants. I can ask him to get X and only X, and I’ll end up with Y because he decides to substitute something he thinks is just as good or to buy me something that I explicitly say I don’t want. He doesn’t see any reason, for example, why anyone needs soft toilet paper and absorbent paper towels, and so when I ask for Charmin’ and Viva I get cheap TP in short rolls with the texture of newsprint and cheap paper towels perforated every six inches that are about as absorbent as wax paper.

While he can get me into the BX if he’s not dragging New Girlfriend around, he can only take a certifiable wife into the commissary. Fortunately, NG has a place in Colorado and so is gone a lot. Also, these serial girlfriends never last very long, so I don’t expect she’ll be barring the door to the BX forever. In theory, I could go out to the base with him and buy household goods in the BX and then send him to the commissary to pick up food.

But what a pain in the tuchus!

11 thoughts on “Here come the new taxes…”

  1. How about buying some stuff off the Internet? There are still some sites that don’t charge tax. I’ve looked at and it seems reasonable for some things. Of course it won’t work for everything and anything fresh is out. Also maybe roadside “stands” don’t always charge sales tax, but are limited.

  2. We have a sales tax on food here. It used to be the regular sales tax; now it’s a bit lower. I would guess that the 2% is not on top of the regular sales tax.

    Here, people w/ food stamps do not pay the tax, incidentally. Maybe you’re eligible for food stamps!

  3. That’s ridiculous. I’m surprised this passed without a voter revolt. Food is a basic need and should not be taxed. Here in Los Angeles, the sales tax is ridiculously high but at least they exempt food bought in grocery stores.

  4. Well, you know… legally we’re all supposed to be paying local and state taxes on Internet purchases. The reason we don’t is that it’s almost impossible to keep track of it. A number of states and municipalities are looking into ways to track Internet purchases, and eventually they’ll find a way.

    It hasn’t passed yet. The City Council has staged some public participation meetings, and the state tax has to get past the voters. Obviously, though, if the City of Phoenix passes a tax on food, everyone who lives in the city–i.e., a very large chunk of the state’s population–will vote against the proposed state tax.

  5. @ frugalscholar: Alas, the fact that I have an IRA and a 403(b) renders me ineligible for food stamps, nevvermind that I can’t touch my savings until (if ever) they recover from the devastation engendered by the fall of the Bush economy.

  6. Why can’t men grocery shop?! I know that isn’t the main crux of your post but it made me laugh to read your description of SDXB shopping. It’s so familiar! Do they do that intentionally so they won’t be asked to do the shopping?

    On the other hand, since he retired my dad has completely taken over the grocery shopping and is now convinced that my mom, who did it without his help for 50+ years, is completely incapable of grocery shopping properly. She’s happy with that. Hmmm….who’s really playing the mind games? I feel a blog post coming on!

  7. LOL @simplyforties: My guy is the absolute opposite of your husband and SDXB – I’m afraid to send him grocery shopping for fear he’ll never come back or buy out the place.

    Truthfully I often send him before dinner so he knows he’s gotta get back if he wants to eat before 9 pm, but I’ve sent that guy for 3 lemons and he’s come home with 3 lemons and 4 breakfast items he knew I would love and some snacks for tomorrow, just in case I get hungry and and and!

    Thanks to long association with a male best friend, though, I’m fairly sure you’ve hit it right on the nose: he just hates grocery shopping so he cultivates ineptitude. Well, that was it initially, then his GF was so naggy that he just decided he could never do it right so it wasn’t worth bothering.

  8. Huh, that wasn’t the point I came to make. I was just wondering about the fact that you can’t even GO to the commissary unless you’re the wife — really? You can’t even shop with him and have him “pay” for the haul?

    I didn’t realize they were so strict, I’ve gone to the commissary with friends and their kids before, and then again just alone with the kids who have military IDs and we never had a problem at the San Diego branch.

  9. What the heck is a SDBX? I shop at the nearest Base Exchange and Commissary…..they tac on a 5% fee for MWR……welfare and rec fund for the service members. so no tax, but a small fee….and then there are the baggers that don’t work for the base, but live off the tips…..and if you don’t give a fairly good tip, you get a dirty look. And the prices are not always better than the local Wal-Mart Super Store! It used to be that the Service Member and Dependents got a really great deal… it’s all about making profit!

    • @ TrudyAnn: SDXB is Semi-Demi-Ex-Boyfriend. SDXB is convinced that the commissary is the be-all and end-all of shopping heaven, and so once a month or so he hauls out to the base to make a major shop. In fact, 5 percent is better than the 8.3 percent we pay in town–and better than he would be paying in Glendale and Peoria, which add their own municipal taxes on top of that.

      When I used to go out there with him, he could get me into the BX as a guest, but not into the commissary. So, he would leave me in the BX while he spent an hour or two cruising the grocery aisles. Like you, I felt the prices on most things were not all that much better than WalMart or K-Mart, and most of the goods were K-Mart quality. To the extent that savings were to be had, they were consumed by the cost of gas to drive out there. If you were living on the base, it would be a pretty good deal, but for anyone who was living in town and schlepping out there…questionable.

  10. We have been paying tax on food since we moved out of Maricopa County. It has always nagged at me, but not worth trying to do all my grocery shopping in Phoenix. And my husband does 99.5% of the grocery shopping.

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