Who’s taxing me first?

By Mike Matteo

As a Florida property owner I have felt like Lou Costello in Abbot and Costello’s famous routine: Who’s on First? Here is what a call to the tax assessor might sounds like given the current scenario:

Bureaucrat: My name is Miss Informed, how may I help you today?
Me: Hello, I’d like to speak to someone about my property taxes.
Bureaucrat: That’s my job.
Me: Great, I’d like to know the name of the person responsible for having to pay taxes
based on property that is tax valued at $200,000 but is assessed by the bank at $100,000
and it is making it impossible to sell it?
Bureaucrat: Who.
Me: Yes, that’s what I want to know, who is responsible?
Bureaucrat: Yes.
Me: Who?
Bureaucrat: Correct.
Me: You work for the state taxing authority?
Bureaucrat: For twenty years.
Me: Who is putting me in the poor house?
Bureaucrat: Yes.
Me: What is the name of the person ruining my life?
Bureaucrat: No, what is thinking up new taxes, fees and assessments.
Me: New taxes! I can’t even pay the old ones. Who is responsible for the fact that my
appraisal and taxable value of my property aren’t even close?
Bureaucrat: Right.
Me: There is nothing right about any of this. What is the name of the guy who wrote the
law that makes my land have a higher taxable than appraised value?
Bureaucrat: Who.
Me: I don’t know.
Bureaucrat: No, he’s working on a plan to make things so bad in Florida that we institute
a state income tax in exchange for eliminating property taxes which will only be eliminated
till we get that income tax and then we’ll start charging property taxes again.
Me: How did we end up talking about a state income tax?
Bureaucrat: You mentioned the name of the man in charge devising the plan.
Me: I did?
Bureaucrat: Yes, you know these officials better than me, you’re just a little mixed up by
their job titles.
Me: Who did you say is working on a state income tax?
Bureaucrat: No, who is responsible for your house not appraising high enough so you can
sell it. Which means your home will most likely end up in foreclosure or you’ll be
working as a bag boy at Publix to pay your property taxes.
Me: What is his name?
Bureaucrat: Who.
Me: The guy responsible for taxable values being so high.
Bureaucrat: Who.
Me: I don’t know.
Bureaucrat: I told you, he’s the guy working on the income tax plan.
Me: Look, I’m being sold a bill of goods and my nest egg is turning to an empty shell. I
have to write a check to the tax collector and who is responsible for putting me in this
Bureaucrat: Exactly.
Me: I can understand him wanting to be anonymous but he’s supposed to be working for
me. I demand you tell me his name!
Bureaucrat: Who.
Me: The guy putting me in the poor house.
Bureaucrat: Who.
Me: What is the name of the guy who designed this cockamamie system?
Bureaucrat: What is the name of the guy thinking up new ways to confiscate your money?
Me: I don’t know.
Bureaucrat: He’s the state income tax guy.
Me: Do you have a supervisor I can speak to?
Bureaucrat: Why.
Me: Because I’m not getting anywhere with you. What is the name of your supervisor?
Bureaucrat: What is not in my department.
Me: Who is in your department?
Bureaucrat: No, he isn’t here either.
Me: The name of your supervisor is?
Bureaucrat: Why.
Me: So I can speak to a higher life form. What is the name of your supervisor?
Bureaucrat: Sir, what is responsible for new taxes.
Me: Greedy politicians!
Bureaucrat: Do you still want to speak to my supervisor.
Me: Yes, and I’d like his or her name!
Bureaucrat: Why.
Me: Because…
Bureaucrat: He’s a lobbyist for the insurance company.
Me: How the hell did we start talking about insurance?
Bureaucrat: You mentioned his name.
Me: Who’s name?
Bureaucrat: Bingo.
Me: Bingo? Ok, let me talk to Bingo.
Bureaucrat: There is no Bingo here. It’s on the Native American reservation because we
felt guilty about taking their land.
Me: Now I’m gambling with the Native Americans. So let me get this straight who is
responsible me not being able to sell my home, what is taxing me more and I don’t know
about a state income tax. Why? Because he’s raising my insurance and you know what?
I’m over it all.
Bureaucrat: Excuse me?
Me: I said, I’m over it all.
Bureaucrat: Oh, he’s speaker of the house.

Mike Matteo is a resident of Tampa, Florida where he was a public and private high school teacher who taught classes in economics, history, psychology and philosophy. Mike has written twenty full-length feature films, has taught screenwriting at the University of South Florida. He has also written or co-authored three books. E-mail him at: writer161@aol.com.

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