Taming the tractor tax

There’s something California farmers are finding very annoying, and it’s not just that John Deere-engine-in-the-copycat-chassis I’m hearing about. It’s the so-called “tractor tax.”

California is one of a handful of states that charge sales tax on farm equipment. Using the logic that what helps farmers helps the economy (and helps us get our dinner), a bipartisan group of legislators, including co-author Sen. K. Maurice Johannessen, R-Redding, has proposed Assembly Bill 7, which would get rid of that tax altogether.

“There’s a lot of tough straits” for farmers right now, explained Andrew Kotch, Johannessen’s communications director. “This kind of legislation gives them a break somewhere along the way.” At least 70 farmers and 15 legislators were expected to show up at an April 16 rally and tractor parade outside the State Capitol.

By the way, the “K” stands for “kick-ass senator from the Northstate.” Just kidding. It’s some long, Norwegian name that only Johannessen can pronounce, Kotch relayed.Scott Smith was not altogether pleased with my April 5 coverage of what he sees as his battle against big business trying to beat down small businesses. The Chico State grad, who runs a public-relations firm out of Sacramento, last year ended up on the losing end of a court case that found that his Entrepreneur Illustrated publication of canned business profiles was “sufficiently similar” to national Entrepreneur Magazine to confuse consumers and constitute trademark infringement and unfair competition. (Entrepreneur Media holds the trademark to use the word “entrepreneur” in print titles.) He was ordered to pay $337,280. Smith felt I did readers a disservice by countering his side with the perspectives of a Chico State professor and the editorial director of the aforementioned Entrepreneur Magazine (Rieva Lesonsky, whose name I misspelled), but not doing more research and presenting my own opinion on whether the two publications looked alike.

Since the piece ran, Smith has gotten progressively more insistent, and since I know better than to cross a man who signs his e-mails in bold italics (he’s a psych grad, so he’ll get that), here are the two mags. He said to be sure and point out the “obvious differences,” including colors and typestyles. Readers can let Smith know what they think by writing scott@bizstarz.com.