In New Jersey, UEZ's are located in blighted or otherwise struggling urban areas. Basically, a UEZ means we the people who patronize businesses within the zone only pay a 3.5% sales tax rate, as opposed to the obscene 7% rate we pay in areas that aren't falling apart.
Lest you think I am being trollish, I think UEZ's are a good thing. What UEZ's prove is what we all know but only half of us are intellectually capable of admitting: Low tax rates spur economic activity, which in turn increases the general state of wealth of all people, while at the same time increasing net tax revenues to the government.
Basically, UEZ's are the government's way of saying, "Look, we both know we're lying about that whole tax thing, but without truckloads of your money we can't give away things to make people vote for us so we don't have to go back to doing wills and divorces at our failing law practices."
Speaking of obscene: Across the street from the transmission shop sits a little bodega that proudly sells NJ Lottery tickets. The government giveth and the government taketh awayeth.
We can't have a flat tax in this country because psuedo-intellectuals on both sides of the aisle whine about the flat tax being regressive. "Regressive" is policy wonk speak for "it hurts poor people." Meanwhile the state shoves an incredibly minuscule chance to win free money down the throats of the people who can least afford not to win free money. I had a neighbor in the early 90s who had three kids, a wife, no job and a foreclosure notice on the door. He took his food stamps to buy food and $150 of his unemployment check to buy lottery tickets in a desperate attempt to change his situation. (By the way, if you play the numbers with the boys down at the social club the state considers you a criminal.)
We all have stories like that, so the next time some dope whines about regressive taxes, remind them about the state-sponsored regressive tax called the lottery, then call your governor and tell them you want a UEZ in your town.
When we finally get serious about prosperity we'll institute a flat tax. Until then, have fun playing Democrat vs. Republican parlor games while the country continues to kill itself.
For further help arguing with people, I have included a short list of other "regressive" taxes:
- Fuel taxes (gasoline and home heating oil)
- Sales taxes (even UEZ taxes)
- Cigarette and other "sin" taxes