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Bad Tax:

A friend of ours once spent six months in San Francisco. When he came back to L.A. he said, “Everyone has a job in San Francisco, but no one works. In Los Angeles, everyone works, but no one has a job.”

So it is that actors and directors, writers and painters, computer programmers and landscape designers and other people in other lines of work regularly do much of their work at home. And, of course, housewives and househusbands do all their work at home.

We were astonished to learn recently that the City of Santa Monica actually imposes a tax on what it calls “home businesses.”

What is a home business anyway? Is it anyone doing any work at home? A director prepping for his next film? An actor running lines? A painter working on a picture he may or may not sell? A housewife who puts in 16 hours a day? Or is it, say, an optician or a dress designer who operate actual businesses out of their homes?

We don’t think it matters. We can’t imagine why the City thinks it has a right to tax anyone for using his own premises anyway he wishes – as long as he isn’t violating any other ordinances or making his neighbors crazy.

It’s pure greed on the part of the City, because we all pay for all the City services – water, sewer services, trash pick-up, recycling, property taxes (directly or indirectly), as well as the City’s 10 percent utility tax.

City Council member Kevin McKeown wants to exempt some occupations from the tax, specifically writers and artists. The Writers Guild lobbied the city of L.A. successfully to exempt screenwriters from its home business tax. But we think the tax itself should be abolished.Greed is never okay, for one thing, and, for another, people shouldn’t be taxed for simply working at home. It’s not only inhuman and inhumane, it’s downright unAmerican.

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