OPINION: State lawmakers make food complicated

OPINION: State lawmakers make food complicated

Believe it or not, I do try to understand complicated things. At times. I try to understand, for example, the Higgs boson. And fail.

But I try. Just the other day I was trying to understand an article about time travel. It was one of those articles that was saying Einstein was right. Have you ever noticed how Einstein is always right? Anyway, I understood about every other word, and they tended to be the good old Anglo Saxon ones.

Presented with this challenge to my understanding I’m not sure why I persist — maybe it’s because I’m holding out hope I’ll eventually run into a sentence saying visitors from Proxima Centauri are in orbit around Neptune and ready to boogie, but I never see anything like that.

One thing I’ve noticed is that scientists at least appear to be trying to make things clear. If they’re failing in that endeavor it’s likely because what they’re trying to get at is enormously complex. The Higgs boson seems enormously complex, at least.

So I don’t typically expect to grasp the fineries of the highfalutin world of space-time and other astrophysics stuff. But one thing I felt I had a pretty good grasp on was food.

Until now.

Now food can appear as complicated as particle accelerators, thanks to the Connecticut legislature.

The Connecticut Mirror put it this way in a recent headline: “Three words. Big argument on what they mean.”

The three words are “grocery,” “store,” and “meal.”

Generations of people, you can imagine, have spent many happy decades undisturbed about such distinctions, but now they’re a source of contention. The reason we’re worrying about them is tax purposes. The aim is to raise taxes by one percentage point, from 6.35 percent to 7.35 percent, on meals. This is part of the continuing, increasingly desperate-looking effort to raise revenue. For lawmakers, including the controlling Democratic Party and Gov. Ned Lamont, the Department of Revenue Services has gone too far in figuring what is taxable. It’s gone beyond what they thought they were passing. See what I mean by complicated?

For the curious, the Mirror article helpfully offered definitions from state law:

“ ‘Meal’ means food products which are furnished, prepared or served in such a form and in such portions that they are ready for immediate consumption.”

And, further: “A meal as defined in this subsection includes food products which are sold on a ‘take out’ or ‘to go’ basis and which are actually packaged or wrapped.”

The world “actually” has caught my eye every time I peruse that statement — as in, what is happening with food that is not happening “actually?” But never mind.

For a while it looked as though Republicans were making inroads in Hartford. Then came the mid-term elections and I guess what you could call the Trump factor and the GOP slid into further, actual, minority. So while they’re calling for a special session to deal with this meal-related confusion, nobody has to pay attention. Democrats apparently feel things can be corrected without having a conniption about it.

“Should the issue not be resolved efficiently, then we will take the necessary steps in the legislature to ensure that our legislative intent is followed,” House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, the Berlin Democrat, says in the Mirror article.

Republicans were accused of playing politics. “The call for a special session is just the Republicans being alarmist and grandstanding,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney, of New Haven. Imagine that: politicians accusing politicians of playing politics.

To special session or not to special session? Either way, a little clarity would be helpful. We’re not talking about the Higgs boson here.

Reach Jeffery Kurz at 203-317-2213, or jkurz@record-journal.com