In a move that is already causing outrage among citizens, The City of Memphis, in conjunction with the Memphis Chamber, passed an ordinance today to tax residents if they do not “go out” a requisite amount in any given month. The announcement, issued earlier today, emphasized that the city ordinance, dubbed an “un-cover charge”, isn’t forcing people to have fun, try new things, and support local bands, it is merely suggesting it under the threat of a tax.
“Everyone should totally go out more and like, support local things, you know?” said East Memphis spokesperson, Timothy Johnston. “We have really cool stuff here, like bars and shows, and murals. We’re just trying to get people to go to them.” The 46 year old spokesperson then revealed, in the interest of fairness, that his blues band does have a gig coming up at Lafeyette’s.
The tax, which is $5 a month, hopes to nudge those who are on the fence about leaving the house and to forego other alternatives. “I’m always down to support local happenings, but when it comes down to it, I have a Netflix subscription. A one month subscription costs the same as parking at Overton Square.” says Carlie Tuller of Chickasaw Gardens. “It’s really hard to pass up a third binge of ‘Stranger Things’, but this tax will get me out at least a few more times a month. Maybe I’ll even go see my husband’s Big Star tribute band.”
Expert legal scholar, Bernard Georges, noted that the ordinance’s wording does have a few loopholes. For example, due to the tendency to work nights, restaurant employees are exempt from the tax, which includes approximately 87% of the city’s population. When asked whether or not the ordinance would be found constitutional if taken to the Supreme Court, Georges stated “I hope so, we could use a few more audience members at our shows.” Georges is in a completely different Big Star tribute band.
Grace Armstrong, a marketing expert here in Memphis, was optimistic the ordinance may have positive effects, unlike previous, similar efforts. “This isn’t like the ‘Mail-In South Main rebates’ of 2012 that required buying stamps, or the ‘Multi-leveling marketing fiasco of 1997’.” stated Armstrong, who is still confused as to how could people resist a consistent passive revenue stream from their friends and family selling Beale Street drink tickets. “In the mind of the citizens, going out now saves them money. Suddenly a $5 show is now basically free. And a free show? Its like getting paid to be entertained.” When asked how she personally felt about the ordinance, Armstrong replied that she would be upset over it, if she lived within the city limits.
Benny Elbows is a Stand-up Comedian and writer. He runs Blacksmith Comedy , is an improviser with The Wiseguys, and you can follow him on twitter and medium @bennyelbows.
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