I’m The First Guy In Harrisburg Charged With Not Paying The Amusement Tax

Do you think I go too far in this blog?

I don’t feel that I do.

Sure, maybe I can forgo some of the ball busting, but what fun would that be?

I feel that I’m an observant person.

And I also feel that I bring to light some alternative takes on what the local commercial media might think but certainly aren’t able to say.

I’ve been pretty public and vocal about the local amusement tax fight. And the local tax collector absolutely hates that.

You see, I’m pretty sure that the local tax collector is a nice guy. He’s gotta be. But because I question the legality, fairness and value of the amusement tax, he’s got a bullseye on my back for every single show that I do or have done.

Quite some time ago, the tax collector for the city filed a citation against me for “failure to pay the amusement tax” and we both appeared in front of Judge Solomon.

The tax collector made his case and I made mine- but of course, I lost.

Found guilty of “failure to pay the amusement tax”.

I think that the fine is something around a hundred a fifty bucks.

But I still haven’t paid it.

It’s not that I’ve ignored it. It’s just that I haven’t paid it yet. (Even though every dime that I’ve owed to the city in amusement tax has been paid, I guess I still have to pay the hundred and fifty bucks.)

ANYWAY- I’ve been wanting to write a blog about “A Night in The Life of a Harrisburg Police Officer” and go on a ridealong. (Note: If the Patriot News writes a story featuring a night in the life of a Harrisburg police officer anytime in the immediate future, you’ll know they got the idea here first)

So I called the Harrisburg Police and spoke with the officer in charge of the ridealongs. He was very enthusiastic and explained the process to me. I have to give my requested ridealong times and beat (I told him I want the busiest, bloodiest, most dangerous shift- he told me 4-11 on a Wednesday).

After giving my information, he explained that they would run a background check to make sure that my ridealong doesn’t turn into a ride-to-the-clink and that he’d call me back when it cleared to set the time.

About fifteen minutes later, I got a call back.

“Michael, this is xxxxx xxxxxx with the Harrisburg police”

“Oh, hey. How’d everything turn out?”

“Well, you do have one thing on here that you’re going to have to clear up before we can take you out on a ridealong”

“Uh oh, is it a parking ticket?”

“Ha, no. No, this is something about failure to pay amusement tax?”

“Ah, the amusement tax. Yeah, I guess I forgot about that. So all I have to do is go and pay that and we’ll be all set?”

“Yup, sure thing. Just go square that away and we’ll schedule you a time for a ridealong.”

“Okay cool. Can I ask you a question?”


“How long have you been on the force?”

“Eighteen years.”

“And in eighteen years, you’ve seen a lot of stuff, eh?”

“Sure have.”

“Well let me ask you this- in your eighteen years on the force, have you ever seen someone charged with failure to pay the amusement tax?”

“Uh, nope. Never.”

So, folks, because of the amusement tax, I’m not able to report to you on exactly what it’s like to work a shift on the Harrisburg Police Force.

That is, until I pay that stinkin fine.


  1. floor9 says:

    I’m sure the city of Harrisburg is teetering on the verge of bankruptcy over the $150. In other news, I didn’t know HPD did ridealongs. I know Lower Paxton does from time to time, but I’d much rather go along in the city. Time to make some phone calls!

  2. Ken says:

    wow. i had no idea i was consorting with a known and hardened criminal when i’m hanging out with you. Shoot…I drove about 6 miles over the speed limit on 283 tonight. You be Bonnie, I’ll be Clyde!

    God Bless politics and red tape…

  3. jerseym says:

    @floor9 – Yeah, I’m actually pretty excited about doing it. Finally get these guys some positive coverage that they deserve. And dude, you *know* the city is milking all 47,000 (and dropping) of us for every penny they can.

    @ken – dude. I’m hardcore. You have no idea.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Dude. You’re a first! Why do you have to be such a law breaker? Just kidding. I think the idea sounds awesome. I’m a bit surprised that the busiest time is on a Wednesday.

    On an unrelated note… I think I past you today coming through the city. That is if you drive a black Saab 900 and were kinda stuck behind some dumba$$ in a brand new BMW who didn’t know how to change lanes on 2nd street where that crazy construction is. I was weaving through traffic on the BMW motorcycle trying to get across town.

  5. jerseym says:

    @Jonathan –

    What can I say, man? I’m a rouser of the rabble.

    To clarify, though- they don’t allow ridealongs on weekends- Thurs-Sat are incredibly busy (and dangerous) and Wed is the closest a civilian can get to the action.

    And YES! That WAS me blaring my horn at the douchebag in the BMW. Not only was the doucheous stopping traffic so he could cut across three lanes to hit the right on Locust, but he was on the PHONE as well.

  6. AmyJ says:

    JerseyM- in my neighborhood, at the very least (Allison Hill), there is also a program called… yikes, I think the Citizen Police program or something (I’ll look over my notes from SAHHRA (South Allison Hill Homeowner/Resident’s Association) meetings and let you know the exact name), but you do more than even just riding the beat, and I think you ride the beat more than once. You should ask them about that, if you care enough to do it.

  7. [...] making the necessary phone calls, clearing my outstanding ticket and signing my life away waiver, I told the officer in charge of arranging the ride alongs that I [...]