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Tax fight in Pennsylvania

“Don’t tax you. Don’t tax me. Tax the fellow behind the tree,” Louisiana Senator Russell Long used to say.

He was the expert on the dynamics of raising tax revenue for the federal government as chairman of the Senate finance committee when I began delivering newspapers. (Naturally, I read them, too.)

I am thinking of him this morning because the Industry Council for Tangible Assets sent out an alert yesterday to everyone it knows in Pennsylvania.

The coin business is being singled out as the fellow behind the tree by the Pennsylvania state legislature.

ICTA says there will be a vote on an amendment either Nov. 23 or 24 in the state senate that would end the current sales exemption for coins and precious metals.

The alert urges everyone in the state to telephone their senators to ask them to vote no on the amendment and to vote no on any legislation that would end the sales tax exemption.

Suggestions are offered on what to say and the information that each caller should provide.

ICTA says:

“Tell them who you are:

“Identify yourself and your business, using your physical address.

“Report the length of time you’ve done business in Pennsylvania.

“Provide your contact information in case the legislator wishes to respond.

“Tell them why you are contacting them.

“Ask them to oppose any bill that includes sales tax on precious metals and coins”

Further, ICTA writes, “If you don’t know who (your state senator) is, you can get their names and contact information at Find Your Legislator. Select By Address, By County, or By Map and it will generate a report with a link that will allow you to obtain their contact information.”

I hope the people of Pennsylvania will response to this call to action and the legislature avoids passing this mistake of an amendment.

As collectors and dealers know, it is far easier to destroy a positive business environment in numismatics than it is to create one.

Our field is small and legislators initial reaction to our needs often is either to think we are pulling a fast one or we are just too unimportant to bother with.

Pat Heller has written something on the topic of sales tax that might be helpful.

Read it if you have not done so already.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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