Private tax collectors 1, taxpayers 0
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A tax bang for fireworks bucks

When we Texans buy our Black Cats or sparklers this Independence Day, part of our payment goes to cover a special fireworks tax.

Fireworks_stand2_2_2 Since Oct. 1, 2001, Lone Star State fireworks retailers have been collecting a 2 percent tax, in addition to existing state and local sales taxes, on "small fireworks in the U.S. Department of Transportation's 1.4G category that may legally be sold to the general public each year in Texas from June 24 to July 4 and from December 20 to January 1."

All that official categorization gobbledygook means the tax applies to such products as firecrackers, rockets, Roman candles and fountains.

A bit of good news here is that we save on some taxes since the roadside stands routinely offer specials like "Buy 1, Get 10 Free!"

But Fourth of July celebrants really shouldn't complain about the fireworks tax. It's not that big and the revenue goes to a very good cause -- a program to assist rural fire departments.

This day in history: On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress approved the U.S. Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.

The formal document, signed by 56 delegates, was crafted by the Committee of Five: Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, John Adams of Massachusetts, Robert Livingston of New York, Robert Morris of Pennsylvania, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.

Firecracker_exploding_drawing_3 The birth of the United States came on the heels of a measure, introduced two days earlier by Delegate Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, that declared "That these United Colonies are, and, of right, ought to be, Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connexion between them, and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be, totally dissolved."

Happy 231st Birthday, America!

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