Bruce Springsteen, Take Note
Government You Can Dance To
Louisville, Ky., recently launched a tax amnesty program, much like those elsewhere. Under the program, if your business pays its overdue taxes by May 31, the city will waive penalties and interest. If you don't, it promises to come after you using some new computer systems that, the government says, will finger the tax-dodgers. But Louisville has added a couple of twists to its initiative: It has billboards around town warning people to pay up, a digital countdown clock that tells them the days and hours left until amnesty expires — and, of course, it has its own rock song. Huh? That's right. Louisville's amnesty program comes with its own rock anthem by a local group called, appropriately enough, the Accountants. Their song, which you can download by clicking here, is a hard-driving number that warns people owing occupational license fees and business profit taxes, "You laid low and you've not paid, But don't be afraid, Your only chance to improve your finance, If you come clean you'll save some green." OK, so this isn't exactly Lennon and McCartney, but giving a government program a beat has accomplished what city officials hoped: It attracted attention to what would otherwise be a four-inch article on a back page in the newspaper. And because of the attention, officials hope to collect more than $4 million in overdue taxes. As for the Accountants, they are, apparently, really accountants who write their own songs and play gigs in suits. They look the part, too: four guys in their thirties with thinning hair and thickening waists. Aside from "Amnesty," what do the Accountants sing about? As their web site ( explains, some of their tunes include "Executive Comp (Is What I Need)," "Suck Up" and the bouncy "E-mail Junkie." Footnote: So, has anybody else written a song about taxes? Well, as it turns out, the Beatles did in 1966, but their view of government finance was less upbeat than the Accountants'. As George Harrison sang, "If you drive a car, I'll tax the street; If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat; If you get too cold I'll tax the heat; If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet."

Posted April 11, 2005

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Travis Foster illustration