Outdoorsmen pay for licenses, registrations. Why don’t skiers and golfers even foot sales tax?

Since I started blogging, I’ve been guilting everyone I know into reading my posts, and people have been kind to do so. To show my appreciation, I thought my readers might like a little comic relief after the darker tones of the welfare legislation stuff — thus the decision to use a humorous approach to justify taxing ski lift passes and greens fees.

My email inbox full of comments suggests the idea and my humor did not resonate with everyone, and I’m a little surprised by the vehemence of the reaction. The few skiers and golfers I am close to — including one of the friends involved in one of the stories — laughed and conceded the point. Out of respect to the many commenters who did respond so vehemently, I’ll try again — no humor this time.

People who hunt, snowmobile, fish and ride ATV’s: They pay fees for licenses and registrations. These fees help to maintain the beautiful state we call home and help to keep all of us safe as we access its beauty.

Why are these particular outdoors people singled out, but skiers and golfers are exempt? Some claim smaller ski- and golf-related businesses might fail should a tax expansion go into effect. But to the best of my knowledge, markets either support a business model or they don’t. If markets don’t support a given business model, the model needs to change.

Further, nonprofit organizations providing opportunities to ski and golf are already exempt from sales taxes, and any expansion legislation could insure this status remains. Taxing amusements is not a radical idea. In the article I cited in the last post, the author said 32 other states tax amusements. I am going to go back and check his comment section to see if he prompted so strong a reaction.

Billions of people around our state, country and world are born, lead full lives and die without ever touching a golf club or a ski pole. No matter how broke participants think they are, these activities are choices and luxuries and should be taxed accordingly.

Patricia Callahan

About Patricia Callahan

Trish is a writer who lives in Augusta. She has worked professionally in education and social services.