By Alfa · Jul 20, 2005 · ·
  1. Alfa

    State: Collections Far Exceed Those Of N.C.

    NASHVILLE (AP) - Tennessee's unauthorized substances tax, modeled after a 13-year-old North Carolina tax aimed at fighting illegal drugs, has generated more than $600,000 in collections and $15 million in assessments since it took effect Jan. 1.

    "Based on what North Carolina did, we've collected six times more than they did in their first six months," Tennessee Department of Revenue spokeswoman Emily Richard said.

    With the new tax, people in possession of illegal drugs must purchase stamps marked with a number to be affixed to packages containing the drugs.

    When drugs without the stamp are found, the Tennessee Department of Revenue taxes the alleged drug possessor and gives them an opportunity to pay the tax. If it is not paid, agents may seize and auction off anything of value the person owns.

    So far, only 184 stamps have been purchased voluntarily, Richard said.

    The illegal drug tax, levied per gram, is $3.50 for marijuana, $50 for cocaine, and $200 for meth and crack cocaine. Three-fourths of the tax revenue is given to the law enforcement agency that investigates the drug offense, and the rest goes into the state's general fund.

    State Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, proposed the tax last year and said the amount of money collected so far shows the tax has been successful.

    "The bill was an effort to make criminals pay for their interdiction and their jail time rather than the taxpayers," he said.

    No criminal conviction is needed for the state to enforce the tax, and information obtained from the sale of the drug stamps cannot be used in criminal prosecutions, according to the Revenue Department. At the same time, buying drug stamps does not provide immunity from criminal prosecution.

    Memphis defense attorney Leslie I. Ballin has 12 clients who have challenged unauthorized substance taxes assessed against them and have been granted hearings on the matter. He said he thinks it's simply unfair to levy a tax before a person has been convicted of a crime.

    "They can take property without due process," Ballin said in a telephone interview. "You've requested a hearing, you've been granted a hearing, the hearing is pending, yet the taxman is knocking at your door and can take your chickens or your horses."

    McNally said because the tax is an administrative procedure, only a preponderance of evidence is needed to assess it.

    "Due to a technicality, someone may get off on drug charges, but this would still have them pay for the interdiction."

    Nashville lawyer David Raybin said he did not have a problem with the tax itself, but like Ballin, he does not agree with the method of collecting the revenue or seizing property before a person has been granted due process of law.

    "I imagine there will be a lot of court action in the future regarding the tax," he said.

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  1. renegades
    some more fodder: Illegal drug tax: On Jan. 1, Tennessee became the latest of 23 states to institute a tax for possession of illegal drugs. Usually, you have to be in possession of a minimum quantity, say over 42.5 grams of marijuana in North Carolina, to be subject to the tax.
    In Tennessee, when you acquire an illegal drug (even "moonshine"), you have 48 hours to report to the Department of Revenue and pay your tax, in exchange for which you'll receive stamps to affix to your illegal substance. The stamps serve as evidence you paid the tax on the illegal product.
    Don't worry that you might get in trouble for admitting you have enough drugs to fuel a rave party for years. You need not provide identification to get the stamps and it's illegal for revenue employees to rat you out.
    Still, next door in North Carolina, which has had a similar law for 15 years, only 79 folks have voluntarily come forward since 1990, according to the Department of Revenue. Most were thought to be stamp collectors, or perhaps just high. Another 72,000 were taxed after they were already busted.
    North Carolina has collected $78.3 million thus far, almost all from those arrested and found without stamps.
  2. Trebor
    Ballin said in a telephone interview. "You've requested a hearing, you've been granted a hearing, the hearing is pending, yet the taxman is knocking at your door and can take your chickens or your horses."

    Maybe this is just a thing in Ireland but people who smoke dope don't usuallu have chickens or horses.

    But I do think this is a good idea. It'll offer evidence to the Governments of the world that money can be made from these substances. I mean, $600,000 in six months! that's $1,200,000 a year. As this is only one state... we'll multply it by fifty. So, in one year, if this was inacted in all fifty states, $60,000,000 would be raised. Now, I may have had a middle class up bringing but that is a shit load of money! in one year!!!! In one country. And if we were able to post prices I could offer even better numbers to prove this fact!
  3. Buddah
    Wow.... that is amazing
  4. Trebor
    Is that meant to be sarcastic? I can't tell.
  5. grandbaby
    What a weird system. I'm intrigued, yet speechless. Can you imagine crack users ponying up $200/g voluntarily? Not likely. That said, I like the idea, in a way, and could see jurisdictions getting "hooked" on the revenue and sliding their way into decriminalization through something like this.

    But not as long as this is the justification:

    Drugs are not a legal problem. Prohibition is the problem. Drug abuse and addiction is a medical problem. Recreational drug use? Not a problem. Why is this still so tough, after more than 30 years of fighting (NORML, LEAP, etc), to get it through the skulls of legislators?
  6. renegades
    Three decades after the war on crime began, the United States has developed a prison-industrial complex—a set of bureaucratic, political, and economic interests that encourage increased spending on imprisonment, regardless of the actual need. The prison-industrial complex is a conspiracy, guiding the nation's criminal-justice policy behind closed doors. It is a confluence of special interests that has given prison construction in the United States a seemingly unstoppable momentum. It is composed of politicians, both liberal and conservative, who have used the fear of crime to gain votes; impoverished rural areas where prisons have become a cornerstone of economic development; private companies that regard the roughly $35 billion spent each year on corrections not as a burden on American taxpayers but as a lucrative market; and government officials whose fiefdoms have expanded along with the inmate population. Since 1991 the rate of violent crime in the United States has fallen by about 20 percent, while the number of people in prison or jail has risen by 50 percent. The prison boom has
    in 1996, explains the thinking: "If crime is going up, then we need to build more prisons; and if crime is going down, it's because we built more prisons—and building even more prisons will therefore drive crime down even lower." its own inexorable logic. Steven R. Donziger, a young attorney who headed the National Criminal Justice Commission
    The raw material of the prison-industrial complex is its inmates: the poor, the homeless, and the mentally ill; drug dealers, drug addicts, alcoholics, and a wide assortment of violent sociopaths. About 70 percent of the prison inmates in the United States are illiterate. Perhaps 200,000 of the country's inmates suffer from a serious mental illness. A generation ago such people were handled primarily by the mental-health, not the criminal-justice, system. Sixty to 80 percent of the American inmate population has a history of substance abuse. Meanwhile, the number of drug-treatment slots in American prisons has declined by more than half since 1993. Drug treatment is now available to just one in ten of the inmates who need it. Among those arrested for violent crimes, the proportion who are African-American men has changed little over the past twenty years. Among those arrested for drug crimes, the proportion who are African-American men has tripled. Although the prevalence of illegal drug use among white men is approximately the same as that among black men, black men are five times as likely to be arrested for a drug offense. As a result, about half the inmates in the United States are African-American. One out of every fourteen black men is now in prison or jail. One out of every four black men is likely to be imprisoned at some point during his lifetime. The number of women sentenced to a year or more of prison has grown twelvefold since 1970. Of the 80,000 women now imprisoned, about 70 percent are nonviolent offenders. About 75 percent have children.
    The prison-industrial complex is not only a set of interest groups and institutions. It is also a state of mind. The lure of big money is corrupting the nation's criminal-justice system, replacing notions of public service with a drive for higher profits. The eagerness of elected officials to pass "tough-on-crime" legislation—combined with their unwillingness to disclose the true costs of these laws—has encouraged all sorts of financial improprieties. The inner workings of the prison-industrial complex can be observed in the state of New York, where the prison boom started, transforming the economy of an entire region; in Texas and Tennessee, where private prison companies have thrived; and in California, where the correctional trends of the past two decades have converged and reached extremes. In the realm of psychology a complex is an overreaction to some perceived threat. Eisenhower no doubt had that meaning in mind when, during his farewell address, he urged the nation to resist "a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties."

    [FONT=Georgia,Georgia]IBERAL [/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia]L[/FONT][FONT=Georgia,Georgia]EGACY [/FONT]​

    The origins of the prison-industrial complex can be dated to January of 1973. Senator Barry Goldwater had used the fear of crime to attract white middle-class voters a decade earlier, and Richard Nixon had revived the theme during the 1968 presidential campaign, but little that was concrete emerged from their demands for law and order. On the contrary, Congress voted decisively in 1970 to eliminate almost all federal mandatory-
    minimum sentences for drug offenders. Leading members of both political parties applauded the move. Mainstream opinion considered drug addiction to be largely a public-health problem, not an issue for the criminal courts. The Federal Bureau of Prisons was preparing to close large penitentiaries in Georgia, Kansas, and Washington. From 1963 to 1972 the number of inmates in California had declined by more than a fourth, despite the state's growing population. The number of inmates in New York had fallen to its lowest level since at least 1950. Prisons were widely viewed as a barbaric and ineffective means of controlling deviant behavior. Then, on January 3, 1973, Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York, gave a State of the State address demanding that every illegal-drug dealer be punished with a mandatory prison sentence of life without parole.
    Rockefeller was a liberal Republican who for a dozen years had governed New York with policies more closely resembling those of Franklin Delano Roosevelt than those of Ronald Reagan. He had been booed at the 1964 Republican Convention by conservative delegates; he still harbored grand political ambitions; and President Nixon would be ineligible for a third term in 1976. Rockefeller demonstrated his newfound commitment to law and order in 1971, when he crushed the Attica prison uprising. By proposing the harshest drug laws in the United States, he took the lead on an issue that would soon dominate the nation's political agenda. In his State of the State address Rockefeller argued not only that all drug dealers should be imprisoned for life but also that plea-bargaining should be forbidden in such cases and that even juvenile offenders should receive life sentences.
    The Rockefeller drug laws, enacted a few months later by the state legislature, were somewhat less draconian: the penalty for possessing four ounces of an illegal drug, or for selling two ounces, was a mandatory prison term of fifteen years to life. The legislation also included a provision that established a mandatory prison sentence for many second felony convictions, regardless of the crime or its circumstances. Rockefeller proudly declared that his state had enacted "the toughest anti-drug program in the country." Other states eventually followed New York's example, enacting strict mandatory-minimum sentences for drug offenses. A liberal Democrat, Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill, led the campaign to revive federal mandatory minimums, which were incorporated in the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act. Nelson Rockefeller had set in motion a profound shift in American sentencing policy, but he never had to deal with the consequences. Nineteen months after the passage of his drug laws Rockefeller became Vice President of the United States.
    When Mario Cuomo was first elected governor of New York, in 1982, he confronted some difficult choices. The state government was in a precarious fiscal condition, the inmate population had more than doubled since the passage of the Rockefeller drug laws, and the prison system had grown dangerously overcrowded. A week after Cuomo took office, inmates rioted at Sing Sing, an aging prison in Ossining. Cuomo was an old-fashioned liberal who opposed mandatory-minimum drug sentences. But the national mood seemed to be calling for harsher drug laws, not sympathy for drug addicts.
    Unable to repeal the Rockefeller drug laws, Cuomo decided to build more prisons. The rhetoric of the drug war, however, was proving more popular than the financial reality. In 1981 New York's voters had defeated a $500 million bond issue for new prison construction. Cuomo searched for an alternate source of financing, and decided to use the state's Urban Development Corporation to build prisons. The corporation was a public agency that had been created in 1968 to build housing for the poor. Despite strong opposition from upstate Republicans, among others, it had been legislated into existence on the day of Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral, to honor his legacy. The corporation was an attractive means of financing prison construction for one simple reason: it had the authority to issue state bonds without gaining approval from the voters.
    Over the next twelve years Mario Cuomo added more prison beds in New York than all the previous governors in the state's history combined. Their total cost, including interest, would eventually reach about $7 billion. Cuomo's use of the Urban Development Corporation drew criticism from both liberals and conservatives. Robert Gangi, the head of the Correctional Association of New York, argued that Cuomo was building altogether the wrong sort of housing for the poor. The state comptroller, Edward V. Regan, a Republican, said that Cuomo was defying the wishes of the electorate, which had voted not to spend money on prisons, and that his financing scheme was costly and improper. Bonds issued by the Urban Development Corporation carried a higher rate of interest than the state's general-issue bonds.
    Legally the state's new prisons were owned by the Urban Development Corporation and leased to the Department of Corrections. In 1991, as New York struggled to emerge from a recession, Governor Cuomo "sold" Attica prison to the corporation for $200 million and used the money to fill gaps in the state budget. In order to buy the prison, the corporation had to issue more bonds. The entire transaction could eventually cost New York State about $700 million.
    The New York prison boom was a source of embarrassment for Mario Cuomo. At times he publicly called it "stupid," an immoral waste of scarce state monies, an obligation forced on him by the dictates of the law. But it was also a source of political capital. Cuomo strongly opposed the death penalty, and building new prisons shielded him from Republican charges of being soft on crime. In his 1987 State of the State address, having just been re-elected by a landslide, Cuomo boasted of having put nearly 10,000 "dangerous felons" behind bars. The inmate population of New York's prisons had indeed grown by roughly that number during his first term in office. But the proportion of offenders being incarcerated for violent crimes had fallen from 63 percent to 52 percent during those four years. In 1987 New York State sent almost a thousand fewer violent offenders to prison than it had in 1983. Despite having the "toughest anti-drug program" and one of the fastest-growing inmate populations in the nation. In summary it is the prison guard lobby, the prison construction companies and both conservative and liberal policitians who have incarcerated more people than any other countries in the world. That quote that "if we build more prisons crime will go down" shows how misguided our politicans are. We should build more treatment centers not prisons. Most non-violent criminals who used drugs are not getting the treatment that they need so they go cold turkey in prison. How inhumane.
    The private-prison building spree in Texas—backed by investors such as Allstate, Merrill Lynch, Shearson Lehman, and American Express—soon faced an unanticipated problem. The State of Texas, under the auspices of a liberal Democratic governor, Ann Richards, began to carry out an ambitious prison-construction plan of its own in 1991, employing inmate labor and adding almost 100,000 new beds in just a few years. In effect the state flooded the market. Private firms turned to "bed brokers" for help, hoping to recruit prisoners from out of state. By the mid-1990s thousands of inmates from across the United States were being transported from overcrowded prison systems to "rent-a-cell" facilities in small Texas towns. The distances involved in this huge migration at times made it reminiscent of the eighteenth-century transport schemes that shipped British convicts and debtors to Australia. In 1996 the Newton County Correctional Center, in Newton, Texas, operated by a company called the Bobby Ross Group, became the State of Hawaii's third largest prison. :confused:
  7. renegades
    We have a half-million more prisoners than China, which has nearly five times our population. We have twice the rate of South Africa or Cuba; five times the rate of China, Canada or Mexico; six times the rate of Germany or France. Our Black population of 35 million approximates the Black population of South Africa. But there are 900,000 Blacks in U.S. prisons compared with 140,000 in South Africa.
    U.S. imperialism uses cries of prison labor to attack China and other socialist countries. Unfortunately, the UAW leadership, in its magazine Solidarity, puts China on probation for various sins, notably human rights violations like prison labor. These statements help General Motors instead of union members. Those concerned with human rights should look homeward.
    Many states use prison labor for making license plates and other government items. Driving through the South 40 years ago I saw chain gangs, that cruel relic of slavery. Now that barbarous practice has been revived. And what’s new is the growing use of prison labor directly for corporate profits. e.g., in California prison laborers book flights for TWA. Elsewhere, Microsoft uses prison labor to ship Windows software to save money for the world’s first $100 billionaire, Bill Gates. Toys-R-Us uses prisoners to clean and stock store shelves.
    According to Gordon Lafer in The American Prospect, Corporate America can’t imagine a better work force than prison inmates: sub minimum wages, no health benefits, no union, no vacations, no absenteeism, no overtime. They have no means of filing a grievance or voicing a complaints.
    During the past 20 years, more than 30 states have legalized the use of prison labor by private companies. In Ohio, Honda pays $2-per-hour for prison laborers who do the jobs that UAW workers did for $20-per-hour. Of course, such prospects have fueled a boom in privatizing prisons— owned and run by private companies.
    Lafer names Allstate, Merrill Lynch, and Shearson Lehman as investors in shell companies that buy prisons. These companies are profitable because the cost of their operations are less than what the states pay them for running the prisons, and for contracting out the prisons to other companies for practically no wages. The difference is pocketed as profits.
    In Georgia, a recycling plant laid off 50 sorters, replacing them with prisoners. Of those laid off, 35 had taken the job to get off welfare. Now they have neither work nor welfare.
    Oregon is one of the worst offenders. A 1994 law requires the state to actively market prison labor to private employers. Thousands of public service jobs have been filled by convicts and private sector jobs replaced by inmates. This is why legislators won't change and will continue to build prisons for people caught with a small amount of a drug. It makes the prison guard lobby grow so dues increase, the builders that are financed by allstate, merryll lynch make money, and the tough on crime thinking is still the prevelant thought thinking it will get them more votes. Swim voted against a DA canidate because he was going to legislate and increase in jail time for people who through drug tests were found to be on meth. Swim told all his friends and we all voted against him. Thank the lord this man lost.
  8. Nagognog2
    The actual name of the corporation set up within prisons is: AmeriCorp. Similar in it's structure to Amway. This was shown on the US television news program "60 Minutes" a few years back. Slave-labor.
  9. zera
    60 million = what the federal government spends in 12 minutes.

    I'm not kidding. 60 million means absolutely nothing to the federal government, it's budget is 2.5 trillion.
  10. Trebor

    Oh. That sucks. Well I'm Irish and that'd buy us back the north.
  11. BeetleJuice

    Thats all that comes into mind.Kinda proves the only reason that drugs are illigal is coz of the moola the gov cant get outa it,yet they still try n tax it when its illigal. just seems fkn strange.
  12. zasabi
    thats y the money goes 2 the state govern
  13. zera
    Combined state government spending is nearly as large as total federal spending. North Carolina's budget for 2007 is $20 billion, which makes the $600,000 in "drug taxes" equal to .003% of the total state spending. Or about what the state government spends in 15 minutes.
  14. BeetleJuice
    this all sounds to capitalistic to me.funk the federal gov and every state gov on the planet
  15. Voices
    OMFG!, and Renegades posts above yours are scarey as hell. So if all of these corporations that use prison labor pay $2 an hour and save bundles of cash in payroll, how much do we end up paying as tax payers for the living needs of the incarcerated? We as the free tax paying public loose out on millions while the corporations get away with the treasure again.

    I also wonder if they lobby for harsher punishment and strict inforcement of petty laws to keep their prisons full. Does it appear to anyone else that history is a closed loop? Or as information exchange speeds up that some algorithm associated with time starts and finishes faster and faster?

    Too simple, it's so much worse than I can imagine. I just woke up yesterday and the real world is much scarier: colder, meaner, more methodical and persistantly malignant than even my worst nightmares.

    Anyway, if you're dealing drugs, paying a tax may prevent you from going down on charges of evasion.
  16. Triple7
    "With the new tax, people in possession of illegal drugs must purchase stamps marked with a number to be affixed to packages containing the drugs."

    Users may stick the stamp to the ziplock bag. Use it's contants, and re-fill it anytime.

    The amounts 3.5$, 50$ and 200$ are interesting. What could have made them choose like that?
  17. xctico

    that's gotta be one of the most ridiculous pieces of legislation ever...

    just think about it... how the fuck do you collect $200 from a crack head, before-during-or after his arrest??? He ain't got $2, and they expect him to have $200! Anything he's got that's worth something, is already in the pawn shop...

    This is just another fine for possession... not a tax, they just call it a tax cause it makes it sound like they have control of the "drug situation" and they can force people into chipping in... what a joke...
  18. El Calico Loco
    Sin taxes are almost as bad as laws against substances. How long before the tobacco tax is so high that hopeless addicts resort to robbing liquor stores to get their fix? Discouraging smoking, my ass. Encouraging crime.

  19. Riconoen {UGC}
    How exactly can you tax an illegal substance?

    And don't remind me of sin taxes ECL, it's about 4-5 bucks a pack of cigs where I live and that shit adds up. Just another way to legislate morality.
  20. xctico
    the worse part about those cigarrettes laws is that they make it hard on people to quit... Down in CR when you wanna quit one thing you can do is not buy packs but only 1 cig just to kill the urge and then move on with your day... around here in cnda you gotta buy the whole freaking pack... that means that perhaps you only wanted 1 cig.. now you're stucked with 19 [which you'll probably smoke...]

    ohh yeah, cigs in CR are $1 >>> canada $10+ ridiculous.
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