Laurie Gould: Don


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My musical response to a bureaucratic mess

At the end of February, 2015, the city of Newton mailed excise tax bills for our cars.    About a week later, my dad died in Florida.  I left town for two weeks, and after I got back it was another week before I could bring myself to deal with the pile of backlogged mail on my desk.   When I did, I found that I was almost two weeks overdue on the excise tax bills.  So I got online and paid them immediately, along with the three or four dollars of interest that had accrued because of the late payment.  I got an email from the City confirming receipt of payment in full of everything that was due; I printed it, filed it, and promptly forgot about it.

Until three months later, when a warrant arrived, demanding payment of these same excise taxes, along with a whole host of fees and penalties.   I called the City, and they said that the warrant had been sent in error; my account was current, and I should just ignore it.  So I did.

Three months later a second bill arrived, also disavowed by the City.   When the third warrant arrived I arranged a conference call between the warrant officers and the City of Newton Treasury staff person, in which everyone on the line agreed that the continued warrants were in error and that they would clear them from the system.   That was in January of this year.   I haven't thought about the incident since.

Until Friday, when a notice arrived from the Massachusetts Registry of Vehicles, saying that they would not be renewing my car registration because......of unpaid excise taxes to the city of Newton.

Now, as anyone who has visited this website knows, I have long been in the habit of dealing with life's vicissitudes by capturing them in song.   This little bureaucratic morass, I think, deserves not just a song, but a music video all its own.  So midlifemomsongs is proud to present:

The Ballad of the Excise Tax Fiasco

Please forward it to your favorite bureaucrat.



From Karen | On September 07, 2016 @06:14 pm
Laurie - so much fun talent and frustration! amazing! And if this isn't resolved call your state senator - I had a similar problem once and it was resolved with that one phone call!
From Amy Mazur | On August 20, 2016 @11:56 am
This is amazing Laurie - You capture the issue and the absurdity of it so well -and so musically!
From Jen | On August 19, 2016 @10:34 am
You were so polite in your song......I think I would have taken a bodyguard directly to city hall......
From Steffi  | On August 19, 2016 @10:21 am
I LOVE this! It reminds me of Dave Barry's description of two cars, neither giving way to the other, until the two drivers totaled both 2 miles an hour! Good luck, Laurie! #ImWithLaurie
From Megan | On August 18, 2016 @10:54 pm
LOVE this....frustration morphs into art....
From T | On August 17, 2016 @01:25 pm
no swearing?
From Marcia Lerner | On August 17, 2016 @10:05 am
Laurie, how I love your songs! And I think you need to write to Rachel Bloom, of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend right away, and offer to create a new character for her show, for which you will write all the songs. Trust me, this is exactly what should happen.

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