Moments after grabbing Saturday’s Portland Press Herald from the news rack in Brunswick, I placed $1.80 for the newspaper on the counter (a dollar bill, two quarters and three dimes).

The counter clerk rang it up and said, “That’ll be $1.90.” Jokingly, I pointed to the lead front-page headline, “STATE GOVERNMENT SHUTS DOWN,” and said, “Hey, if the Maine government is shut down, then no tax can be collected.”

She looked at me so taken aback. She thought I was serious. So I paid the tax with a dime. But taking her up on her seriousness, if the government is shut down, why do we have to still pay a tax on purchased goods?

David Snieckus

Orr’s Island