Let's talk about taxes...

I'm starting to go over to the dark side on taxes. Yes, I think taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society. Yes, I think a progressive tax structure is appropriate and the very wealthy should pay a bit more... But, I'm finally getting fed up. First, I'm fed up because our tax code is not equitable...and generally speaking it favors the wealthy with many loopholes and the lower rate on capital gains than the rates on sweat-earned wages. And, most of the many OTHER taxes also impact the poor and middle class more than the rich.

Charlie Reese was an Orlando Sentinel writer for years. I suggest you read his final column HERE He hit the nail on the head.

Anyway...an additional 1% sales tax is just another camel's nose under the tent and a minimum 6% state income tax ...escalating to 7.75% on anything over $50K-$80K (depending on filing status) is a damned big bite. We already have one of the highest state income taxes in the US. See HERE for easy to read details.

Really...read the Reese column linked above...and think about all the bills you get that have even more taxes added. And just why is it I saw a Mercedes SUV with a DOT license plate...and how come some legislative assistants get raises almost as large as the average yearly income for a NC family? Why should I pay more in property tax so the church down the street can get by for free (as well as the other properties they own) and at the same time denigrate some of the same people who are paying their freight?

Why is the state in the liquor business...and we the people are paying for employee's retirement and health care...when it should be in the hands of private business? (No property taxes paid, either!)

So...I'm tired of it.


Just a note

From the Tax Foundation blog via your link:

North Carolina's state and local tax burden is currently estimated at 9.8% of income (16th nationally), equal to the national average of 9.8%. Compared to the 1977 data, North Carolina had a rate of 9.7% (28th nationally), increasing 0.1% overall. Currently residents pay $3,583 per capita in state and local taxes.

I agree our tax system needs to be reformed, I just don't trust the current General Assembly leadership to do it. They've demonstrated time and again they only care about the wealthy, and any diddling of the tax code under their watch will only make it more inequitable.

Apples and oranges

You're talking about cost-effective in government on one hand ... and tax rates on the other. They should be connected, but they aren't.

Reece's points are all well made. But there's no evidence that lower taxes is going to stop any of the problems you and he are concerned about. Legislative raises? Cut-Taxes-Tillis is the worst offender. He's also the same guy who will stand there and defend tax breaks for churches and a whole raft of other faith-based bullshit. All the while selling parks and schools to private businesses who will get rich harvesting taxpayer investments. And, as you say, keeping up the state monopoly on alcohol and gambling. It's a crying shame and it's a sin, but it has nothing to do with tax rates.

Reece, you, me, and most of America are understandably frustrated. That said, the Grover Nordquist "drown government in the bathtub" response is a losing proposition. It doesn't address any of the concerns you're expressing.

Our elected officials in Raleigh and in Washington are, for the most part, cowards and incompetent. They are also corporate whores through and through. That's one of the main points Reece is making, though he doesn't quite come out and say it.

To the specific point on tax rates, the proposals on the table are misguided. The upper tiers aren't high enough and the rates for those upper tiers aren't high enough either.

I'm going to disagree

I simply think that when someone's income is taxed beyond 15-20% in total by all the varying taxing agencies, it's too much. I suppose there's room for negotiation on what that number should be...and why...but there comes a point when one has to ask why am I working so hard just to then give my money away. That becomes particularly odious when the monies are being wasted and/or "special" interests aren't paying anything.

When my father died 3 years ago I did his final tax returns. He had @ $8000 in an IRA started years ago with a $2000 investment. If he had cashed it in a day befoe he died the tax rate would have been the normal NC income tax rate. As it turned out, after a "huge" $600 exemption (ha) the rate went to almost 35%. What's the point of saving if the state then sucks you dry? Just an example.

It's fine and dandy to say we need higher taxes to pay for essential services and to promote the public good...as long as what we already pay isn't being used to buy Mercedes Benz cars for DOT officials and my property taxes aren't being used to build a baseball stadium or pay for the infrastructure to support "charitable" institutions that are not acting as good neighbors should.

Stan Bozarth