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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Commerce Lois O'Rgurke, commerce page editor, 468-3522 WEDNESDAY, NOV. 26, 1997 Taxes are one of life's certainties, government style By JOHN CUNNIFF AP Business Analyst NEW YORK - The cartoon is amusing but serious: It shows a gentleman just arrived at the pearly gates and standing before a smiling, bewinged and behaloed agent of the "Eternal Revenue Se'fvice." "Now that you're dead." says the agent in greeting him, "there's just taxes.'' The cartoon appeared in Medical Economics, a largely financial magazine for physicians, those folks who can do something about deferring death but who, like others, have been unable to do much of anything about taxes. Few people can; taxes keep inching higher, and they do so almost mysteriously - in spite of voter protests, repeated political promises and even legislation that cuts taxes. Those tax cuts, highly publicized, are soon nibbled away in relative silence. ..The observation is getting lots of attention in think tanks, now that an unexpected increase in tax receipts and lower-than-expected government spending resulted in a fiscal 1997 federal budget deficit of only $22.6 billion. Why, if the deficit can shrink like that, some of these observers comment, the next think we'll be dealing with one of these year is an unexpected surplus! The prospect alone is enough to make a big-spend politician giddy with anticipation. As former Treasury economists Gary and Aldona Robbins comment, there are two ways to use potential surplus revenues other than spending them: You can cut taxes and you can lower the federal debt, which is the accumulation of all those budget deficits. The Robbinses, husband and wife, select tax cuts as the most logical way to go, and they offer some reasons why in a paper for the Institute for Policy Innovation, a Lewisville, Tex., think tank. Here are some of them: •The greater the percentage of Gross Domestic Product taken by government, the less for the private sector, which of course is the source of government revenues. In fiscal year 1997, federal taxes captured 20 percent of GNP, the highest level since 1945. •High taxes stymie economic growth. They raise business costs and they reduce consumer discretionary income. The previous postwar highs of taxes as a percentage of GDP were in 1969 and 1981. Recessions followed. •Government spending is the least productive way to use surpluses. Sometimes it even creates the need for additional spending. Before designing new ways to spend money, government might consider rooting out obsolete, wasteful or counterproductive programs. Forcing Uncle Sam to cut back, however, is as difficult as cutting out smoking or drinking or drugs; the dependency has been building for years, and hopes of kicking the habit seem to have a life length of a few days. Stephen Moore, who can dissect a budget with a surgeon's skill, reminds us of what he sees as an insidious absorption by government of an increasing portion of the private sector, as reflected in rising taxes. Moore, the director of fiscal policy studies at the Cato Institute, Washington, D.C. (but commenting for the IPI) reminds us that in 1800, when the nation's capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, all its records were packed into 12 boxes. In the early 1800s the federal government employed 3,000 people and had a budget of $100 million (in 1990 dollars). Today, the U.S. budget is larger than the entire economies of most nations — larger than Britain, Canada, France, Italy and Spain. The drafters of the Constitution enumerated the government's powers to spend, such as to "establish Post Offices and post roads, raise and support Armies, and provide and maintain a Navy." They envisioned much responsibility devolving to state and local levels. Times have changed, of course, and government is more involved, but not always of necessity. Sometimes it has acted not to fulfill needs but to satisfy constituencies, cosset lobbyists and enhance political power. Nowhere in the Constitution, says Moore, will you find any authority for the federal government to pay money to farmers, run the health care industry, impose wage and price controls, finance business, or build parking garages, tennis courts or swimming pools. Throughout the writings of the founders, says Moore, you will find references to the propensity of governments to grow and, as Jefferson put it, for "liberty to yield." And, as a consequence, for taxes to grow. Nearing completion BUSINESS IN BRIEF Above, Safeway stands almost ready for their big opening Friday, Dec. 5. A walk through will occur on the evening of Thursday, Dec. 4 with the ribbon cutting taking place on the morning of Dec. 5. At right, employees unpack and stock the shelves in longer, wider aisles. Below, store manager Ken McBurney spends much of his time on the phone with last minute details. Photos by B ar bar a Vaconcellos Lumber activity increases in the west PORTLAND, Ore. - The report of comparative figures on western lumber production, orders, shipments and inventories for the week ending Nov. 15 was issued by Western Wood Products Association today. The information represents industry data from the 12-state western woods region. Lumber production during the week was reported at 326 million board feet, 7 million feet more than the previous week. Orders were 294 million board feet, 27 million feet over the previous week's level. Shipments were reported at 310 million feet, an increase of 15 million feet. . Figures for the same week a year ago show production at 35y million board feet, orders 306 million feet and shipments 343 mil- 10 Year-to-date figures through 46 weeks of 1997 show production at 14 934 billion board feet, orders at 14.773 billion board feet and shipments at 14.781 billion board feet. Totals for a year ago at this time show production at 14.400 billion board feet, orders at 14.737 billion board feet and shipments at 14.560 billion board feet. Inventories in the region are 2.024 billion board feet, 17 million more than the previous week. Figures for the same week a year ago show inventories were 1.868 billion board feet. Johnson named Longs manager Effective Nov. 10, Jeff Johnson replaced Mike Nicholls as store manager of Longs in Ukiah. Nicholls has been transferred to Longs in Mill Valley. Johnson managed the Ukiah store for about one year before being transferred to Longs in Lakeport where he has spent the past three years As a resident of Redwood Valley, Johnson is happy to be coming back "home." He has worked for Longs for over 20 years. Brewery holds release party BERKELEY - On Dec. 4, three weeks before their 10th anniversary Anderson Valley Brewing Company, the only American brewery to make the World Beer Championships' list of the Top Ten Breweries of the Year two years in a row, will host a party to celebrate the greatly anticipated release of two of their brews, Boont Amber Ale and Hop Ottin' India Pale Ale, in 12 ounce bottles and six-packs. The guest list for the invitation-only party, includes several California beer distributorships, retail beverage accounts, select members of the local media, and freelance beer writers. Dr. Kenneth Allen, Brewmaster and owner of Anderson Valley Brewing Company, along with members of the brewing staff will attend the party, to be'held at Jupiter, in Berkeley. "We have so much to celebrate, we figured we needed a party," said Allen. "This started out as a press release party for the six- packs but the release date is close to our 10th anniversary. Then we got the news about making the Top 10 Breweries of the Year list again, and decided that focusing on just one of these events wouldn't do the others justice, so we're going to celebrate them all," he added. In 1989, Anderson Valley introduced the 22-ounce "Bomber Bottle" to the American beer industry, which became a trademark of microbrewed beer. In spite of the bomber's popularity, customers have been requesting Anderson Valley six-packs for years. "It may have taken us 10 years to produce our first six pack, but I guarantee it was worth the wait," said Allen. Boont Amber, the company's best selling ale was voted by the San Francisco Bay Guardian the "best beer brewed in Northern California." Previously available only on draught, Hop Ottin' India Pale Ale is full bodied, with a pronounced hoppy bite. It is brewed with several hop additions during the boil, and finished with traditional dry hopping to intensify it's flavor. It has been described as "a hop-head's dream beer. Company accused of scheme Associated Press NEW YORK - Reputed mobsters were charged Tuesday with taking part in a scheme by executives of an Arizona health-club chain to manipulate the company's stock. The arrests of 18 individuals, with a 19th expected to surrender later in the day, were announced at a news conler- ence where authorities warned • the securities industry to be ' iyary of mob influence. ; ". "The mob has never seen a : market that they didn't want to manipulate," said James Kallstrom, assistant director of the FBI's New York City office. Members of the Genovese and Bonanno crime families infiltrated HealthTech International Inc., a Mesa, Ariz., owner of health and fitness centers, said U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White. Some of the defendants made more than $1.3 million in illicit profits through a scheme in which the company's assets and stock price were artificially inflated, Ms. White said. Store hosts shopping day for disabled people Mervyn's California stores across the country will host a special holiday shopping event for senior citizens and people with disabilities Friday, Dec. 5, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. "A Special Time for our Special Guests" is Mervyn's first- ever holiday shopping event designed to provide a reprieve from the hectic holiday rush to customers with special needs by offering clearer, wider aisles, extra seating, personal shopping assistance and enhanced customer services. During the shopping event, the company will give a 10 percent discount on all purchases and offer free gift-wrapping in addition to entertainment, refreshments and a visit from Santa Claus. The first 100 customers will be greeted at the main entrance with a free gift courtesy of Mervyn's California. The event is part of Mervyn's strong community relations program and highlights the company's commitment to helping it's less fortunate customers, including those with special needs such as seniors and people with disabilities, who may feel harried by the prospect of typical holiday rush-hour shopping. The idea for the event came from Dayton Hudson Corporation sister-company Target, which has been celebrating the holiday with a similar event for more than 20 years. For this special shopping event Mervyn's California has partnered with the National Easter Seal Society and other local nonprofit groups to ensure customers receive personal attention and assistance making purchases. The company recently donated a $100,00 grant to the Easter Seals because of it's dedication to helping people of all ages and disabilities achieve independence. Volunteers and chapter representatives from the organization, and other non-profit organizations, will be on hand during the event to help make shopping as enjoyable as possible for customers. Mervyn's California, based in the San Francisco-Bay Area, is a premier, promotional, neighborhood department store featuring quality national and owned-brand fashions and housewares at great prices. Mervyn's operates 273 stores in 14 states and is a division of the Dayton Hudson Corporation (DHC), which also owns Dayton's, Hudson's, Marshall Field's and Target. As part of DHC, Mervyn's annually gives 5 percent of it's federally taxable income -close to $25 million in the past 10 years - back to the communities it serves.