Tuesday, January 18, 2005

*&^*(#$#%@) book tax?!

I came across Ped Xing's post about one of Malacanang's proposed revenue bills for 2005, House Bill (HB) 3105. This bill seeks to impose a 10-percent value-added tax (VAT) on the "sale, importation, printing and publication of books."

My Isis, Anubis, Venus, Zeus, Athena, Jupiter (and every other god and goddess in religion and mythology).

After all this time, the geniuses in Congress can't come up with a better way to collect (yes, I do mean collect) taxes! Where does the government spend our tax money? Education? Right. Infrastructure? Guess again.

Instead, you see badly dilapidated waiting sheds with boldly printed words such as, "Donated by Cong. Eng-Eng", "Donated by Mr. and Mrs. High-and-Mighty", and signs on bumpy roads that say "This is where your taxes go".

Donated? Are we supposed to grovel at their feet and thank them for providing a public service that the public paid for in the first place? How stupid do they think we are?

But, I digress.

Ronnel (of Ped Xing fame) writes that

"The imposition of this tax would, of course, mean pricier books, thereby further discouraging, according to National Book Development Board Chair Dennis Gonzales, the reading of books in this country. But what is especially absurd about the proposed tax is that it will spare locally printed publications and imported magazines and newspapers, which means FHM, Philippine Tatler, Vogue and Cosmopolitan can retain their old price tags. "

There's absolutely no logic there, given that these magazines are surely a more popular commodity than imported books. Aside, of course, from the obvious slight to books and reading.

But as if (note, I write as if) to add insult to injury, the Brazilian government is doing the exact opposite of what our Congress hopes to push through. Brazil is eliminating those very same taxes in an effort to get people to read.

Ronnel enjoins those who feel strongly about the bill to write to the two chairmen of the Congress's committees on ways and means: Sen Ralph Recto (telefax No. 834-8974) and Rep. Jesli Lapuz (telefax no. 931-4955).


Blogger Paul said...

Of course, why would the House want the press to have another reason to skew public opinion against them?

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