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A Taxing Situation

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One thing I really like about Americans is that they as a rule don't take things laying down.

This seems especially true when it comes to taxes.

Americans don't like being taxed.

It just isn't their cup of tea.

Some people say that George Herbert Walker Bush messed up big time when he didn't keep his word when he said "Read my lips: no new taxes".

President Barack Obama promised to fix health care and trim the federal budget deficit, all without raising taxes on anyone but the wealthiest Americans.

I think it's a little strange that he was voted in when he stated that he was going to raise taxes.

Here in Pennsylvania, we have what should seem like a very popular Governor. At least it would seem that way when you look back at how he beat the Republican, Lynn Swann in the last election.

Faced with a budget impasse, Ed Rendell wants to raise the state income tax to balance the budget, but Republican lawmakers are resisting any effort to raise taxes.

I'm glad I'm not working on trying to come up with our state budget.

I have tried to come up with what I think is what is the best for me and I get lost in it all.

Republican lawmakers want to make cuts in order to balance the budget.

I'm sure that there are some cuts that can be made and need to be made.

But if the cuts might mean that the state isn't able to get the money from the federal stimulus funds. But this money is only going to be around for about 3 years, so I'm not sure what would happen in year 4 when this funding is gone?

The cuts the Republicans want does mean that I'd not have to pay about $350 annually in extra State income taxes.

But I'm thinking that these cuts would result in me paying more in property, school and county taxes.

Kinda seems to me that somewhere along the line someone, somewhere is going to manage to get their hands in my pockets.

As things are right now, being that I work for the state, it looks like I'm going to face a few weeks or maybe even months without a paycheck.

I thank the Lord that for the most part this isn't going to be a big deal for me. But I'm talking to people who this is really going to hurt.

I'm not a politician, I don't work in any area that has anything to do with the budget.

But I just fail to understand why when everyone knew and knows when the deadline is, they waited until the deadline was gone to come up with what was needed to get the budget done.

Ed Rendell has been busy touring the state trying to sell the idea of higher taxes, not only has he not managed to win people over, but while he has been dashing around he hasn't been in Harrisburg taking care of what has needed to be done.

Holding the State workers pay checks is just plain wrong. While the white collar guys who earn the big bucks can more than lightly go without a check for a while, many of the ordinary everyday guys who have families and work with their hands doing stuff like repairing and digging the roads are going to really feel the pain.


I think that everyone knows that there has to be some sort of a compromise.

Seems to me that we are waiting for the first person to blink.



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Fast Eddie the Thug is not good for PA. He will tax us to death! I'm still waiting on that slots relief on my property taxes that will never come! Trusting Fast Eddie the Thug to do the right thing is an oxymoron!

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If you can believe the radio pundits, 40% of the American populace do not pay taxes. If I didn't have to pay taxes, I too wouldn't care how Obama plans to pay for all this...just give me my tax "rebate" and free healthcare. I DESERVE it.


I got a blinding glimpse of the obvious (BGO) when I recently traveled to Canada. We had to get a "briefing" before leaving the good ole USA. They said, "as a foreign visitor, do not try to go to a private MD...they will not see you if you are not part of the Govt health plan. If you DO need to go to the Emergency Room, you will need to pay CASH UP FRONT, or you will not be seen. Your health insurance is no good there."


Perhaps there are several lessons to be had from that...

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E, those people that know they have to pass a budget wait until the last second because then THEY get paid more. Yeah, that makes sense... they can't find a way to responsibly spend money, but they get a raise every year. Or maybe that's just Illinois politicians at work? I want to say that in Illinois if the legislature has to come for a "special session" then they get like $100/day or more. If they are there during their "normal session" then they don't get that extra money.


I love how California is giving out "IOU's" to everyone now. You think if you or I had a bill to pay to the state of California or taxes, etc you think they'd take an IOU from me?

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Hey hops, long time, no see (or read). Hope you're well. It might make you feel just a smidge better to know that several very large banks recently told California "no more IOUs!" Of course these are many of the same banks who took (or in some cases were forced to take) fed govt bail outs to stay in business last late last year (under Bush) and earlier this year, then sat on most of the money they were given, rather than using it to make loans to people who would have been credit-worthy. Seems those banks are not feeling too charitable themselves.


As for screwed up state politics, well it is just screwed up everywhere! In MI, they routinely wait til after the fiscal year has begun to set the budget. And then they take money back from various state-funded institutions (like schools) after the money has been promised and spent. In Indiana, they only narrowly avoided a total shut down of state gov't last week by coming up with a half-finished state budget at the very last minute. New York - well who even wants to look there, they can't even figure out who is really in charge and have run "dueling" legislative sessions lately!


As far as I can see (and yes, this is sort of a partisan moment) a lot of this is the hang over we're all now suffering as a result of the fast & easy 90s when states were flush with cash because the economy was fine. Lots of states - especially those controlled by Republican legislatures - cut taxes, stopped investing in infrastructure and services, and crowed about how low the burden was on their citizens! Yeah, great, when times are good and money is flowing freely. Not great when times get tough and infrastructure is crumbling due to years of under-investment.



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We brought it on ourselves. Hardly anybody is willing to look past the next moment in time and make needed adjustments for the future. I have it, let me spend it. In today's recession, those who have been prudent are okay, though perhaps a bit leaner; most have problems due to their poor decisions and blinders.


Our state governments are just the same, or worse. In California, Grey Davis spent the surplus rather than save it for a rainy day. Now the monsoon has hit and guess what, the floods are inundating the state economy and its population. Still, the idiots in the capitol are playing "politics". And in the last election, the turnout was so low that it was almost non-existent in some areas. Either people just choose not to be involved, the "someone else will take care of it" syndrome, they somehow feel "not voting" is a slap at the political machines, or they simply do not understand and so don't. Yet, most of the most upset are in the "did not vote" category.


Economically, California has already dropped into the ocean. I am simply waiting for it to start drifting towards Asia, since they own half the debt.


We keep waiting for the "person on a white horse". But we control the stable, and we need to MUCK IT OUT!

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I don't see anything strange about a bank not accepting worthless IOUs...didn't they just get burned from questionable business practices and ordered by Obama to clean up their acts? Make up your mind...can't have it both ways. Would you accept an IOU from your neighbor, knowing full well he had no plan in place to pay it back?


This country is about to implode...and I don't blame any particular party...I blame US and the "gotta have it all now" mentality. I feel sorry for our children and grandchildren who will be forced to clean up this mess.


On Friday, I had to wait 3 hrs at the DMV to get my driver's license renewed. More than half of the 15 customer service windows were closed and the A/C was off due to budget cuts. Then, as I was finishing, the computer went down and I had to wait another 30 minutes for it to process. I would have done it online, but they required me to get a vision test (which was a joke).

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As skeptic noted the problem is us. We have high expectations of government services, at all levels. We want good public schools, new transportation systems, state universities with modest tuition, low interest college loans, college grants, clean water, clean air, state-of-the-art military hardware, social security and medicaid, law enforcement, govt. emergency response capabilities, and the list goes on and on. Anyone who tells you we can maintain the current level of government services based on our current tax burden is a liar. Anyone who tells you we can have more government services without increasing taxes or cutting current services is a liar. Anyone who tells you we can cut taxes and maintain the current level of services is a liar. The problem is we keep electing people from both parties that don't tell the truth. Anyone who does doesn't have a prayer of being elected.


Then we complain when it all hits the fan.




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" The problem is we keep electing people from both parties that don't tell the truth. Anyone who does doesn't have a prayer of being elected."


You want to know something funny? I teach American gov't to large #s of college students. Every semester I "run" a brief campaign. My pledge is that I will raise taxes, cut services, make tough decisions some of them won't like. I'll acknowledge our challenges in both domestic and international contexts, and I won't be able to fix some of them. Sometimes I'll have to choose between a set of bad options, and hope that I'm choosing the least-bad of the lot.


When I get all done with my stump speech, I ask how many will vote for me. What's really funny is that even though I would always "lose," consistently about 1/3 of my students respond quite positively to such a doom-and-gloom approach (and I lay it on pretty thick). They say they'd appreciate someone who doesn't make impossible promises or tell them what they'd like to hear, in the face of incontrovertible evidence to the contrary.


So I have hope for us as voters, but only for about 1/3 of us...still, I kinda hope some of the other 2/3 are more aware of the fact that politicians usually over-sell and that life isn't as simple as the soaring rhetoric found in stump speeches tends to suggest.


(as for CA, if they would get rid of the stupid 1970s-era state law that requires special majorities any time they want to raise taxes or impose new fees, it would probably help them. You can't add more and more and more benefits with no new revenue stream to sustain them.)



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While it is still nascent, and a long shot, I will not be overly surprised if the drive for a rewritten constitution comes to fruition. Even though so many no longer vote, they might still choose to completely redo the whole governing structure.


A few other things that could happen, at least on paper, would be limiting pay to all politicians, taking away perks such as cars and per diem for those earning over a certain amount, and some kind of control on judges that make politically skewed decisions against the will of the people and not based on solid law. As long as the proposition apparatus is in effect, almost anything that takes a club to the so called "governing body" will pass, as people are simply tired of the "business as usual" attitude.


I am far more fortunate than many, mostly due to being raised by parents and grand parents that lived through the depression and WWII. Our condo is paid for, and I have a small house in the desert as well. But the next few generations are going to have to relive much of what my parents and grandparents did I am afraid. On the other hand, it could be a major factor in bringing families back together, due to necessity. Time will tell.

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