Nobody Likes the Tax Man

As it turns out Apple isn’t the only organization that avoids paying taxes. Another well-known organization is actively trying to avoid the tax man but it’s not a greedy capitalist private enterprise, it’s a benevolent egalitarian public organization called the National Security Agency (NSA):

Under a bill the 2013 Utah Legislature passed, the National Security Agency’s new Bluffdale data center might be taxed on the millions of dollars of energy it is expected to consume, providing a potential windfall for an obscure state authority.

The NSA is protesting the possible tax, even though a Utah attorney said he informed the agency about HB325, and the top U.S. electronic spy agency voiced no opposition until an official emailed Gov. Gary Herbert’s staff weeks after Herbert signed the measure.

“We are quite concerned [about] this,” Harvey Davis, NSA director of installations and logistics, wrote in the April 26 email, obtained through a Utah open records law request.

In a follow-up email Davis sent 31 minutes later, he explained: “The long and short of it is: Long-term stability in the utility rates was a major factor in Utah being selected as our site for our $1.5 billion construction at Camp Williams. HB325 runs counter to what we expected.”

You see, when an evil private enterprise that provides goods and services people voluntarily buy tries to keep its wealth it is an evil plunderer that the state sees necessary to destroy. When an evil public enterprise that spies on the general populace and backs up its existence at the point of a gun attempts to keep its ill-gotten booty the rules change. Suddenly exceptions must be made so taxes can be avoided.

This story demonstrates succinctly that there are different sets of rules. One set of rules applies to non-state agencies and another applies to the state itself.* When non-state agencies fail to pay taxes they are persecuted and told that they must pay their “fair share.” When a state agency is faced with a tax bill it protests, screams, and files official complaints to avoid paying them. Somehow they don’t have a “fair share” to pay. One thing is certain, nobody likes the tax man.

*There is also a third set of rules that applies to us lowly serfs. Fortunately it is a simple document that only contains one rule. Unfortunately that sentences is, “You are the slaves, we are the masters, and you must obey every one of our decrees or suffer whatever punishment we see fit.”