Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Just a few thoughts...

Salvador Dali: Person Am Fenster

Well the democrats have the congress and maybe when they count the votes in Virginia the Senate as well. So what does this really mean? It does mean that Nancy Pelosi will take over as speaker of the house which is a good thing. It does mean that Donald Rumsfeld after a “thoughtful” talk with GW decided to FINALLY resign, something that he should have done months ago. (As an aside if you spell check “rumsfeld” it changes it to “rusted” ya have to love the Microsoft humor?) It does not mean any discernable change in Iraq, but it does mean that the rest of the world is looking with more respect on as us a Nation for sending a message to Washington.

On a more personal level, I must say that the elections in Louisiana were very encouraging. All of our constitutional amendments were approved. My top 2 most important being Amendment 7 and Amendment 5; amendment 7 was for the long needed consolidation of our 7 Orleans Parish Assessors to 1 and Amendment 5 was to remove personal property tax on consigned art in galleries. #5 has stuck in my craw for years. Every time I was assessed at the gallery I would march down to the assessor’s office and complain. Our old Assessor Janice Degan started saying hello to me at the grocery store and asking if she could expect me for our annual meeting of the minds.

I can tell that a lot of people did not really understand amendment 5 as it was voted in on a tight margin. Just a quick explanation is in order. Personal Property tax is exempted on artwork in your home, whether you purchased the art or you are the artist. As soon as the same art is put in a gallery it is not exempt from property tax. So immediately this becomes a nightmare for the gallery owner, the artist or the consignor. At the end of the year, if you are honest you are supposed to break down all the consigned art that has traveled through the gallery in the past year and percentage break it out by the retail value and declare it as personal property to be taxed. I can assure you that no gallery was doing that, so typically what one would do it just say – all my art is consigned, but none of the consigned art for the past year is in the gallery, and typically the Assessor would leave you alone because the law sucked.

However, there were 3 occasions where I had revenue agents wander through my gallery and then call me on the consignment thing. When this happened they took names and addresses of Artists and people who were simply consigning previously purchased art – and then sent them the personal property tax bill. Of course this then makes the gallery owner extremely popular with them. The law was detrimental to art galleries and to our ability to establish good relations with consignors and artists who typically are not very business savvy. What I used to do to circumvent the problem was declare an actual inventory (even though the art was consigned) so that it would not flag the Assessors office. This was at a cost of $1000+ per year to the gallery. However, it was the only way to keep the artists and consignors safe. The bottom line being it was not really the gallery’s personal property tax, but their liability if I listed them on the personal property tax form for the gallery. I still do not know if the artists and owners of art consigned realize that this was not a tax benefit for the gallery, but a tax benefit for them.

One last thing on the issue that was not discussed in this Amendment; Say I purchase a piece of art inventory for $20,000.00 and it does not sell in the first year. I have to pay not only income tax via the inventory, but personal property tax. Then let’s say in year 2 I still have not sold the piece. I am taxed on it again via personal property tax. That is double taxation without a doubt. It is unfair and wrong. When I told Janice Degan’s office about the double taxation issue they said that art appreciates the same as your home… yeah right if that was true I would be a millionaire.

Once again I have run on with a long explanation, but so be it.

My last and final comment is in regard to the one UNFAVORABLE thing that occurred during our elections. William Jefferson the democratic congressman district 2 (my district) who has been thrown off the Ways and Means Committee for potentially taking a bribe of $90K and hiding it in his freezer, won over 30% of the vote. What are people thinking here? Whether the guy is indicted, whether he is found guilty, he is finished in D.C. He is powerless.

For anyone who reads this and actually voted for him, remember that Nancy Pelosi was the one who kicked Jefferson off the committee. She now wields the power, and I don’t think she is going to let our own slick willie slide – so just don’t waste your vote on him again.

My last, last final comment speaks to the topic of Oil Revenue Sharing. If you do not live in Louisiana we would greatly appreciate you emailing your representatives and asking them to vote for this before the session ends. The 2 most powerful Democrats come January 2007, Congress woman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Jeff Bingaman strongly oppose Louisiana getting any share of offshore oil royalties. The S—t is going to hit the fan here if we do not get our fair share. Please remember that the entire infrastructure for getting the oil out of The Gulf is here in Louisiana. If you would like more information please check out THIS .

Breaking News:

just added:

WASHINGTON - Democrats wrested control of the Senate from Republicans Wednesday with an upset victory in Virginia, giving the party complete domination of Capitol Hill for the first time since 1994, as NBC News reported that Democrat Jim Webb was the apparent winner.

Webb’s apparent squeaker win over incumbent Sen. George Allen effectively gave Democrats their 51st seat in the Senate, an astonishing turnabout at the hands of voters unhappy with Republican scandal and unabated violence in Iraq. Allen was the sixth Republican incumbent senator defeated in Tuesday’s elections.

No comments: