michelel72: (SGA-Rodney-Math)
michelel72 ([personal profile] michelel72) wrote2010-10-18 03:24 pm

Math is not *that* hard, people

Pop quiz: what's wrong with the logic here? (Emphasis mine.)
Robert Gaudette is tired of watching customers shop for wedding dresses at his South Attleboro store then drive across the border to Rhode Island to save the 6.25 percent in Massachusetts sales tax.

For a $15,000 dress, the tax savings would be $937.

"The shops in Rhode Island who sell the same dress that we do, don't have to charge any sales tax," said Gaudette. "They use that as a selling point."

So it's no surprise Gaudette supports Question 3, the voter referendum on the November ballot that would cut the state sales tax to 3 percent from the 6.25 percent levy the Legislature raised it to in August 2009.
-- Selling the sales tax cut, The Sun Chronicle (Attleboro, MA, US)

Do you see the subtle problem with the connection they've drawn? Hint: changing the tax rate in Massachusetts does not change the tax rate in Rhode Island. So: They claim it's "no surprise" the shop owner supports watching his customers continue to shop elsewhere, as long as they save only half as much (such as $450 rather than $937, using their example) by doing so.

(That's ignoring the run-on opening sentence; tSC is routinely a copyeditor's nightmare. Also, a $15,000 dress? *cough*)

I'm having a good bit of trouble figuring any product line/price-point for which the 3.25% saved by a sales tax reduction would be enough of a difference-maker to outweigh the additional 3% saved by a short drive. So: I find the shop owner's support mystifying, frankly. He's supporting continuing to lose business, impoverishing the state and thereby state aid to his city, likely therefore raising his business taxes, and diminishing public pressure to eliminate the sales tax entirely. I would be unsurprised if the shop owner supported that last; but the writer of this article fails to make his example case make any sense at all.