Dumb Tax Idea #27, or,
“The (In)Convenience Store Tax”

Did you know that the city of Minneapolis just slapped a 50% surtax on small purchases such as ice cream, coffee, dry cleaning, pet grooming, etc.?

OK, so they’re not calling it that — but that’s effectively what it is.

What I’m referring to, of course, are the ubiquitous new parking meters that now require a $1 minimum payment, even if all you’re doing is running into Dunn Bros. on Lake Street to get a quick cup of coffee.

Add $1 to a $2 purchase, and — Voila! — you have a 50% surtax.

Aggravating Factors

Aggravating matters further:  the collection hours have been extended, to midnight six days a week (wanna bet that 24/7 is just one more budget crunch away?); and the vending machine (payment kiosk??  Pay station??) halfway down the block can be 3x-4x further away than the store you’re visiting.

Oh! . . . and once you get to the kiosk, if you didn’t happen to note the five digit code for your parking spot, you have to go back to your car, write it down, return to the kiosk, navigate a four-step payment menu, obtain a printed receipt, then go back to your car yet again to display the receipt on your dashboard.

And that’s without snow, ice, and below zero windchills.

Is this really anyone’s idea of progress?

More to the point:  is the inevitable hit to local coffee shops and similar small businesses worth the modest additional city tax revenues?

P.S.:  One of my favorite Family Circus cartoons shows one of the children, triumphantly holding up an “old-fashioned” toothbrush, announcing:  “Look!  Grandma’s toothbrush works without having to be plugged in!”

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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