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How to Bring Maryland's Budget to Heel, Part IV

Let's just round up sales tax to the next nickel.
When you do taxes, our governmental entities don't want to deal with pennies. Amounts under 50 cents get knocked down to even dollars; amounts over 50 cents get bumped to the next dollar. In the end, the result's thought to be a wash. Let's take this idea a little farther. How about rounding up sales tax change to the nearest nickel? The odd pennies would be added to the state's tax coffers, and we'd hardly feel it. We might even be glad not to be awash in pennies.

This doesn't sound like it would amount to a lot of money, but consider: we're talking large overall numbers here. The result might be sufficiently substantial to allow the state to avoid increasing the sales tax by a penny, with some revenue left over. We leave this to the state's actuaries to work out. But please—do it soon, before the State Legislature does something really, really stupid that will be very difficult to undo.

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This story was published on November 3, 2007.