With apologies to the Beatles, the Federation of Egalitarian Communities, and the state of Vermont.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Chapter Eighty-One: Debt and Taxes

It was Wednesday night and the commune was involved in another fun-filled meeting.

“What do you mean, we’re in debt?” Strange Brew asked.  “Luna, I thought you were all paid up for this farm.”

“Well, yeah, I bought the farm,” Luna said, “but I did it with a mortgage and we still owe on the mortgage.”

“We got a great rate on the mortgage and pay very little,” Sal said, “but we won’t be paid up for another fifty-three years.”

“Yeah,” Luna said again, “I’ll be seventy-three before we completely own this place.”

“But can the bank just take the place back if we fall behind?” asked Blue Sky.

“The trick is,” Cat said, “we don’t want to fall behind.”

“Yes,” Sal said, “and that’s why the fact that we took in less money last month is so important.  I want to say again that we’re still doing okay, but we need to keep tracking our expenses and pay attention to how we’re doing so that we’re not in any danger of falling behind.”

“And, if any of you want to help with this,” Dan said, “you can join the finance committee.”

“Not me,” Darren said.  “I hate numbers.”

“And not me,” Nancy said.  “I worry too much about money.”

“Well, maybe I’ll join the committee,” Strange Brew said.  “I’d like to know more about how we’re doing, money wise.”

“Well, welcome aboard,” said Dan.  “We meet every other week after the commune meeting, including tonight.  Anyone should feel free to stay and join us.”

“And we promise not to make you do any financial work outside of the meeting,” Sal said.  She paused and looked around the room.  “At least not after the first meeting that you come to.  We’ll see about what we do after you attend your second meeting.”


“So I have a question,”  Strange Brew said at the finance committee meeting.  “It’s tax week and I don’t understand why we don’t have to pay taxes.”

The meeting was held in a room upstairs in Groovy House.  Sitting around Strange Brew was Sal and Dan and Marge and Paul G.

“I thought I explained that to everyone,” Dan said.

“Well, you did,” Strange Brew admitted, “but I didn’t quite understand it.”

“Let me try,” Sal said.  “The commune pays all the taxes, so none of us has to pay individually.”

“I got that,” Strange Brew said.  “But I don’t understand why.”

“We’ve got a special tax status,” Sal said.  “It’s called a 501z and it’s available only to communes, cults, and conspiracy theorists.  Basically, since we all share all our money, we just pay once for all of us.”

“But what about our allowance?” Strange Brew asked.

“We make five dollars a week,” Marge said.  “Do you think the government cares about that?”

“I guess not,” Strange Brew said.

“Can we go back to the business plan?” asked Paul G.

“Absolutely,” said Marge.  “I want to make sure that we don’t go into real debt.  That wouldn’t be pretty.”

“Okay,” Sal said.  “So this involves increasing our sales at both the produce stand and at the baked goods stand.”

“We also have some ideas for new projects and businesses,” said Dan.  “I think between the increased sales and the new income streams, this is going to boost our revenue tremendously.”

“Wow,” said Strange Brew.  “Boost our revenue.  That makes it sound like we’re a real business.”

Sal looked at Strange Brew.  “If you’re going to be on the finance committee, you’ve got to believe that we are a real business.”

“Wow,” said Strange Brew again.

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