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Romania Adds Witchcraft as Official Job Witch Threatens Government with Spell

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by hearit

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In The News

For all the witches, wizards and warlords in the house, Romania has officially changed its labor laws – to now include witchcraft on its list of official labor professions. But before the world of wizardry gets too excited, as it turns out, even witches have to pay taxes. At least one (self-described) “witch” is not pleased: she says she’s going to cast a spell on the government over the hot topic, to create discord.
The ‘witchy’ job move initiated in Bucharest and Romania isn’t based on the country's recognition of some previous mistake in providing credit to one of the world's age-old professions: like virtually any change that occurs in government, the country's recent labor law change simply boils down to money.
Ben Franklin seems to have had it right, expressing the idea that, “in the world, nothing can said to be certain except death and taxes.” Romania’s witchcraft profession will help the country ring in the new year, having just gone into effect January 1, 2011. Romania is trying to crack down on a widespread tax evasion, and boost income for the country already in economic recession.
While witches are now officially added to the labor list, so are the newest introductions of four other professions: astrologists, embalmers, valets and driving instructors can all look forward to paying 2011 taxes in Romania. As it turns out, witches weren’t exactly looking to be added to the country’s list of “professionals”: for months, the legal measure has been a topic of hot debate, with the newly-taxed career protested by “witches”.  The labor law topic has also been receiving top billing in the Romanian media – receiving a bit of jest throughout news outlets. 
As the labor law change goes into effect on New Year’s day 2011, a witch who refers to herself as “Bratara” has contacted the top TV station -- and she's threatening retaliation: the witch says she plans to cast a spell, involving black pepper and yeast, in order to create discord among Romanian government.
Romania may not need assistance with governmental discord – but, apparently the government is willing to assume associated "witchcraft" risks, in order to rake in those potential "big bucks". The real potential of that economic boost is a little unclear: there may be thousands of "witches" in Romania, but -- as the ninth largest country in the European Union by area and ranking the seventh largest member of the European Union in terms of population -- taxing thousands more, in a country boasting roughly 21.5 million people, may prove a bit futile.
The "black pepper" threat of retaliation strikes much closer to home than Romania's government may actually prefer to admit: just three months ago, in September 2010, a similar proposed labor law change was struck down by government officials -- specifically because of the likes of a threat similar to "Bratara's", and the fear of "spells". September 9, 2010, a Romanian proposal for changing the country's laws -- to tax "witches" and "fortune tellers" -- was thrown out.
Respective lawmakers Alin Popoviciu and Cristi Dugulescu, two prominent and ruling Democratic Liberal Party members, had drafted a proposed law in order to help boost government income: Popoviciu and Dugulescu were suggesting a new requirement -- that the jobs of "witches" and "fortune tellers" in Romania would require those involved in the specific career choices to both produce receipts from their work and additionally be held liable for wrong predictions made while performing those independent jobs.  
While lawmakers in Romania's government's had decided to pull out all stops, in efforts to boost government revenue in every which way possible, the idea of taxation on the age-old craft has not gone over so well -- at least in the world of witchcraft.
Roughly three months ago, well-known Romanian "witch" Maria Campina, relayed to Romania's major news outlet Realitatea TV the concept that taxing "witches" could present a difficulty: Campina claimed that taxing thousands of "witches" and "fortune tellers" could be hard, based on the erratic sums of money received in those specific lines of work.
When September's proposed law involving career "witches" and "fortune tellers" was thrown out, the law's co-drafter Popoviciu admitted the reason for the law's yank was specifically because Romanian lawmakers were afraid of repercussions: lawmakers have feared being cursed by the same realms they're attempting to tax. With the new January 2011 introduction of "witches" entering the tax fray, "fortune tellers" have apparently been left out of the equation -- indicating that the government may be more afraid of the future than the current.
Romania's severe economic crisis and financial condition seems to have lawmakers ready to take their chances with "spells". The country has already been forced to negotiate the present without needing a "fortune teller" to forecast details of the future: things have been a bit hand-to-mouth, with Romania taking a $26 billion loan funded by the International Monetary Fund, European Union and the World Bank in order to simply pay its own. That $26 billion went toward paying state wages and pensions following the country's major economic hit in 2009 where it saw a shrink of more than seven percent.
2010 didn't mark any monumental upward swing for Romania's economy, the country opting to increase sales taxes by a whopping five percent -- from 19 to 24 percent -- and additionally cutting public sector wages by one quarter.
It may be a very good thing that Romania has officially declared witchcraft a profession: the government may be needing a witch, skillful in casting a spell to create a temporary "Aladdin" -- to grant the wish that "witches" will actually pay those taxes.




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