A Modest Funding Proposal for the State

Minnesotans recently elected a new Governor – Mark Dayton – which freed us from the tyrrany of Tim Pawlenty (but, regrettably, freed up Pawlenty to go pursue national ambitions, alas). He faces an unenviable position; not just by being a Democrat governor with a Republican-controlled state Congress, but because he’s inherited a mighty large defecit in a state where all the fat (and much of the meat…) has long since been trimmed from the budget.

Pawlenty, you see, made a point of not raising taxes, something which helped make him a darling of the Right. Never mind his creation or increase of every fee, service charge, assessment, levy, duty, or toll he could think of; people will just gloss over that.

I mean, it’s gotten to where, if you want the state to screw you, you’d have to pay something like $943.28 for the privilege:

Labor: four hours unskilled labor at $22.50/hour = $90
Labor: one hour skilled labor at $37.85/hour = $37.85
Transportation expenses: 38 miles round-trip at $0.20/mile = $7.60
Dinner reservation: $2.00
telecommunications recovery surcharge = $2.00
Dinner: Actual expenses, $48.50 = $48.50
Dinner: 35% gratuity: $16.98
Dinner: Non-local food fee: 2x $5.00 = $10.00
Flowers: $17.50 = $17.50
Flowers: Non-native wildflower assessment: $10.00 = $10.00
Movie: Two tickets at $11 each = $22.00
Movie: Family-values incompatibility fee: 2x $3.25 = $6.50
Sex: Motel room: $75.00 = $75.00
Sex: Personal lubricants: $13.50 = $13.50
Sex: Prophylactics: $3.75 = $3.75
Sex: Certified copy of your birth certificate (to prove you’re above the age of consent): $86.25 = $86.25
Sex: Miscellaneous clerical fees associated with the above: 2x $11.25 = $22.50
Sex: Environmental impact statement: $375.50 = $375.50
Miscellaneous non-itemized expenses: $92.85 = $92.85
Check processing fee: $5.00 = $5.00

I may exaggerate slightly, but you get the idea.

Anyway, as the state faces a crazy-big budget crisis, I began to wonder what else the state could generate revenue from.

From a government perspective, the ideal revenue-generation program should meet certain criteria:

It should be inexpensive and require few people to operate;
It should have a somewhat-straightforward fee schedule;
It should involve recurring fees;
It should involve something with broad popular appeal;
It should be something that has good long-term prospects for mass appeal and doesn’t rely on current fads regaining popularity;

After some rumination, I came to the realization that the state needs to begin licensing fan clubs.

Think about it. Want to join the Official Minnesota noun Fan Club? (Where ‘noun’ is anything populist – Baseball, NASCAR, Snuggies, Twilight, Abstinence…) Of course you do!

$200 to found a fan club.
$125 to be a founding member.
$25/year for membership.
$45/year for gold membership.
$95/year for platinum membership.
$10/year for an official laminated membership card.

…plus tack on a 20% surcharge for fan clubs for individuals, half of which will be given (as taxable Minnesota income, natch) to the celebrity in question.

My god, just the fees from a Sven Sundgaard Fan Club would probably put Minnesota back in the black, and the fees from a Twilight Fan Club could probable freeze college tuitions… for a semester or two, anyway.

So, what do you think, Dear Readers?

Good idea?
Bad idea?
Creepy idea?
Good but excessively-snarky idea?
Bad and unnecessarily-snarky idea?

Thoughts and comments on postcards to the usual address, et cetera.

Published in: General | on January 20th, 2011| Comments Off on A Modest Funding Proposal for the State

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