Death and taxes

Ben Franklin’s comment about the certainty of death and taxes seemed true around our household this week.

Sunday morning, the 36-year-old husband of my wife’s niece died of cancer. My wife was there for the week prior to the death helping her niece tend to her husband and their four children as the inevitable approached. Thus, she and our three daughters were at a funeral in northeast South Dakota Tuesday afternoon.

I couldn’t attend the funeral because I was dealing with taxes. Not my own, but the state’s. I was on my way to Pierre for a Supreme Court argument on the constitutionality of the state’s tax on insurance premiums. The tax currently brings in about $60 million a year and, according to the governor’s budget address in December, is five percent of the state’s revenues. Arguing in support of the constitutionality of the tax and, hence, the continuation of those annual revenues, makes it among the more significant of my Supreme Court appearances.  Still, I’ll take taxes over death any day.

Hopefully things will now return to at least a semblance of normal.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I’m praying Lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
Somebody made a big mistake

“When I Pray,” Todd Rundgren, Faithful

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