Taxpayers Get Burned. Again.

You'll now pay another $50 upon cremation.

There is one thing surer than death and taxes, and that's a tax on death. The King County Council recently passed one (it was "buried" in budget documents), adding a $50 charge to the cost of cremations in the county. The medical examiner asked for the tax-disguised-as-a-fee, as critics call it, to cover costs of authorizing all cremations in advance. John Eric Rolfstead, director of the cremation service People's Memorial Association, calls it an "unfair, discriminatory tax that applies specifically to those who are poor or whose religion requires cremation, such as Buddhists, Sikhs, and Hindus." He notes that while a family spending $25,000 on burial would not be subject to the tax, someone spending $650 on cremation would have to pay the extra $50. (The bill would go to the cremation service, which is likely to pass the cost along to the customer). A repeal campaign is under way. The fee, which would annually raise an extra $400,000 literally from the ashes, would be imposed starting next year. However, the county has graciously offered all taxpayers the opportunity to die now and save.

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