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Here comes the panic, Donny

Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.

Note #2: Today’s column is based on this event.

The citizens of Duluth, MN today passed a Donny Ness tax, requiring all city residents named Donny Ness to pay a flat $5,000 fee each year. The fee will only offset a small portion of the money people named Donny Ness have cost Duluth residents this year.

This new citizen law comes after Mayor Ness’ proposal to charge residents $500 for each use of emergency services. Under the law, citizens would be charged for each use of the police, fire department, or ambulances, and for each car accident they’re in, regardless of whether they’re at fault. If residents were unable to pay, they’d be left to die in their cars or their house would be re-set on fire by the fire department.

If Donny Ness is unable to pay the Donny Ness tax, he will be forced to live alone in a cheap hotel room and go by the name Fled Manders. He will not be allowed to go to work or see his family until he pays the tax that allows him these most basic things in life, things which he has already earned.

“The city deficit has to be paid somehow,” said local resident Flip Bonser. “We either have to charge a Donny Ness tax or follow him around and purposely get into car accidents with him so he’ll repeatedly be charged $500. I think we made the more civil choice.”

Ness was unavailable for comment, as he was spending the weekend burglarizing citizens’ homes to help pay down the city’s $4.5 million deficit.

Polls show the Donny Ness tax has the support of 99.9% of Duluth residents. The only dissenters were the mayor himself and another resident with the unfortunate name of Donald Ness. He is unrelated to the mayor.

“Why should I have to pay $5,000 just because the mayor is a douchebag?” said Donald Ness. “I like the fee for emergency services better, especially with how much our last mayor drove drunk.”

Mayor Ness’ emergency services law is one of many bizarre fees considered by the city council lately. Other proposals from Mayor Ness include installing pay toilets in every resident’s home, charging property taxes twice per year instead of once, and placing 56 toll booths throughout the city, one for each major road.

“Can we charge people to breathe air?” asked a desperate Mayor Ness at one council meeting. “I also heard 15 percent of city residents live beneath the poverty line. Can we charge them for that?”

Aside from the Donny Ness tax, citizens have also passed a law charging fees to city council members who make laws. Every time a law is created or changed, each of the council members will have to pay $500, whether they voted for the law or not. They hope to persuade representatives to actually balance the budget properly instead of inventing laws that punish locals and scare away tourists.

City spokesman Jeff Papas is not affected by the Donny Ness or city council taxes, but citizens are working on a separate tax to charge city spokespeople who promote dumb ideas that Mayor Ness thinks up.

“With these new citizen laws, we feel Duluth will finally be back on track,” said resident Franklin Peltola. “Now the only thing that will scare away my visiting relatives is the drunken cavepeople who live in Superior.”

“Hey!” shouted Judy Duritz of Superior, struggling to hold both a baby and a cigarette. “Shut your mouth, fancy pants!”

The combination of Mayor Ness’ bizarre emergency services tax, which charges people for something their taxes already paid for, and the citizens’ Donny Ness tax, which charges Donny Ness for being Donny Ness, Duluth seems to have become a living example of Hunter S. Thompson’s quote, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

When asked how the new citizen laws could possibly be any better than Mayor Ness’ emergency services law, most residents responded with laughter.

“It ain’t any better. Duh.,” said an unidentified man drinking out of a Brewhouse growler as he strutted down the street. “Elected people are supposed to make shit smoother, so people can come home from work and relax instead of worrying about the government. Our politicians keep pushing the panic button instead. Panic is what they want, so we’re giving it to them and seeing how they like it. Ness’ office has been flooded with bizarre letters and calls for weeks.”

After taking another long swig, the man removed his knit beanie hat and shouted, “Panic, Fled Manders! Panic!

 4 Responses to “Here comes the panic, Donny”

  1. Dennis says:

    Very nice! I LOLd at my desk which is rare!

  2. Tim says:

    Hilarious. Well done!

  3. 8berse6 says:

    What the fuck?! You already pay for those with your taxes. If this becomes instituted in California I will quite paying state taxes.

  4. Yvette says:

    Has this guy been talking to the airline people who now charge you to take luggage on your trip?!! Do politicians and airline big shots have brains? Damn!

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