The Fulsome Report: TJL's Suggestions for Widening the Tax Net to Tackle Jamaica's Fiscal Deficit

Recently the Gleaner published a Letter to the Editor where the writer suggested that Jamaica’s economic woes could be solved by money raised from taxing bad words. thought this was an excellent idea and, as a way of doing our part to help Jamaica out of its economic problems, we've come up with some additional suggestions for things that could be added to the “tax net”. We’ve focused on things that Jamaicans do very frequently but which probably ought to be discouraged. Some of our ideas may sound outlandish but just remember that in the last tax package an attempt was made to tax salt and ground provisions... so nothing is sacred. Ever heard of the Matalon Report? We call this the Fulsome Report (You’ll see why below).

Bad Mind: As common as oxygen and found in every single area of Jamaican life, bad mind is present in every village, town and hamlet in Jamaica. It’s found amongst the rich, poor, educated, uneducated, PNP, JLP, NDM, Gully and Gaza alike. A tax on bad mind would be inherently equitable as it would have to be paid by almost everybody, regardless of background, class or status and would, no doubt, generate enormous revenues since there is such an abundance of it. It would also help to bring about social order since the more “bad-minded” a person is, the more bad-mind tax they would pay, and as such there would strong incentive not to be so damn evil. (Naturally, some people would go broke but that’s ok.) We suggest a fixed tax of $200 for every occurrence noted. (Never mind the low price. We expect to make up for it in volume)

Driving around with setters/rollers in your hair: C’mon ladies you should know better. And if you don’t, listen now and listen good: It is NOT sexy. So stop it. $2,500 per occurrence noted.

Bleaching: Disturbing, unhealthy, but nonetheless popular in some places. $50,000 per occurrence.

Politicians and members of the media using the word “fulsome” incorrectly: The Collins Concise Dictionary defines fulsome as “excessive or insincere, especially in an offensive or distasteful way”. It does NOT mean to act in a detailed or thorough manner. So stop talking about “fulsome enquiries” and “fulsome studies” and get it right, dammit. $250,000 for every occurrence.

Having more than one Baby Mother: We’ve always done it and nothing (apart from death or castration) will ever make us stop, so why not just tax it? $2,000 for every occurrence. (We briefly considered placing a tax on having more than woman, but since this is ten times more common than having more than one baby mother we decided it would be administratively burdensome to implement.)

Men with an extra-long finger nail on the little finger of one hand: What the hell? Is this supposed to be a weapon? Its probably much easier to sneak a fingernail into a dance than a machete, but how much damage can even a sharpened nail do if you someone steps on your Clarks and you need to discipline them? Or is it a tool? Does it come in handy when your car breaks down and you don’t have a screwdriver handy? Even if it’s a useful weapon/tool, haven’t you noticed that no one wants to shake your hand? It’s because they’re imagining all the nasty places that your finger and nail may have been. $350,000 for every occurrence. In fact this one should be made a criminal offence and a punishment of 40 lashes imposed also.

Women who have hairy legs: We’d be in favour of banning hairy legs entirely but since some women seem determined not to comply we suggest a tax. $350,000 and 20 lashes for every occurrence. Additional tax for hairy underarms…. $250,000 for every occurrence.

Wiping windshields at stoplights: Yes, we’re serious. It was alright when it was limited to just one or two boys hustling for a living at the intersection of Hope and Waterloo Roads. It’s now a full fledged cottage industry with small armies of boys at every single intersection in Kingston. All they need now is an industry association and a union. $50 for every occurrence.

Driving out into the middle of the intersection when the traffic is backed up and getting stuck there when the light turns red: If morons insist on doing it, then they’ll just have to pay. $50,000 for every occurrence. (And if you think it will be difficult to tax this, please let us know how it would be any more difficult than taxing yam)

Leaving your radio on while calling in to a radio talk show: Dear Lord, how many times do you have to be told? How people head so tough? Talk show hosts have been saying this from the days of Barry G, Ronnie Thwaites (remember Public Eye?) right up to Mutty Perkins, Ragashanti and Uncensored… and some people still can’t learn. $25,000 per occurrence.

Having more than one expired car registration sticker on your windshield: It’s not a collage folks. Cut it out. $2,500 for every occurrence.

Saying VERN-ica instead of Veronica: Part proceeds from this tax will go to the establishment of a Counselling Centre for persons who have suffered psychological trauma from having their name abused in this way. $8,000 for every occurrence.

Tax packages: We had three (or was it four?) of them in 2009 and each time the package had to be amended almost as soon as it was introduced. Next time round there needs to be a tax on the tax package. Same would be payable by the politicians who approved it. $1Billion per occurrence.

Weed: Would taxing something that is currently illegal mean that you wholeheartedly, enthusiastically and unreservedly endorse the illegal activity in question? Maybe... So why confuse the issue? Just legalise it! Purely for the purpose of raising tax revenues, of course.

We would suggest the following disclaimer be used when our tax package is announced: Please note that this tax package may be instituted at any time with little or no warning. It may also be immediately repealed either in part or in its entirety. Additionally, it may be partly or wholly amended in an ad hoc manner, no matter the distress, confusion or exasperation caused. We accept no liability whatsoever for any such distress, confusion or exasperation. Further, the imposition of this tax package in no way whatsoever detracts from our ability to institute one or more additional tax packages immediately thereafter.

All in all we expect a tidy sum to be raised from our tax package. We’re happy we could do our part!