Romanian lawmaker Alin Popoviciu is blaming fear for the failure of a bill he sponsored that would have imposed new regulations and taxes on witches and fortune tellers. He claimed that the legislation had failed because lawmakers were afraid they would be cursed if they passed it.
The bill, drafted by Popoviciu and his colleague Cristi Dugulescu, was designed to help increase tax revenue by tightening regulations on witches and fortune tellers, who are apparently among the many groups dodging taxes in Romania. The country's economy has been hit hard by the recession, which could be seen as good news since it at least proves Romania actually has an economy in the first place. But the government's crypts seem to be running short on gold or whatever they use for money there, and in an effort to increase revenue it has increased sales taxes and cut public-sector wages by 25 percent.
The witch bill would have cracked down on the industry by requiring witches and fortune tellers to keep and produce receipts (somehow "receipt" is not a word I've ever associated with witches), and would also have provided that fortune tellers could be held liable for getting predictions wrong. (Insert your own joke about whether they saw this coming.)
Maria Campina, described as a "well-known Romanian witch," conceded Thursday that it was difficult to tax her kind because their revenues were "erratic." But she also insisted that they should be tax-exempt. "Why should we pay taxes when we don't get anything from the state?" said Campina, who apparently conjures up her own roads and utilities. She really appeared to be arguing that witches contribute more to the economy than people recognize. "We already do a lot for our country," she said. "Whenever there's an important Christian celebration, we perform a ritual to protect the country from natural disasters -- that has to be worth more than any tax income." It wasn't clear from this report whether she was claiming they protected Christians during their celebrations or protected the rest of the country from the Christians.
According to one report, in 2002 Campina said that in retaliation for a new law that banned promotion of sorcery in the media, she had ordered all Romanian witches to use their magic to prevent Romania from joining NATO or the European Union. NATO and the EU apparently have more powerful sorcerers, because Romania has since joined both.
It was not clear whether the two lawmakers would try to revise the bill and re-introduce it, if they are still able to write with tiny little webbed paws.