Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stimulating Taxes, or Fun Times in California

This year, I've started watching Special Report with Bret Baire on Fox News on a regular basis. While my DVR records it every day for me, I tend to only watch 2 or 3 of them a week and delete the others unwatched.

Naturally, a big story they've been talking about for the last month is the economy and the stimuless package that has been passed and signed now. I'm not going to get into that whole debate here (but I do think it is a lousy bill that we'll be paying for generations from now). The only thing I want to comment on is one thing they threw out there. They say the average American will only get an additional $8 per pay check from the tax cuts that were part of the deal.

Now, I obviously have no idea how they figured that out. Heck, I don't know if that is a weekly, bi-weekly, twice monthly, or monthly paycheck. But we'll just assume it is correct for the sake of arguement. That means I will get an extra $208 dollars a year in my pay checks. I'll try not to spend it all in one place.

One of the stories I caught last night (I actually fast forwarded through most of two episodes when I should have been in bed) was about the budget problems here in California. We still don't have a budget (and our fiscal year is from July to June. Or it was at one point.) We're talking about a budget out of balance by Billions of dollars. One suggestion was to raise taxes. They'd double the car registration fee (one of the things that got Davis impeached and Arnold in office), raise our sales tax by 1% (which would make it dangerously close to double digits in parts of the state like LA County), increase state income taxes, and increase our gas taxes (already one of the highest in the country). The estimate of what these would cost the tax payers? $2K a piece for at least 5 years.

My first thought - I can't afford that. I'd better start saving money now so I can afford to live.

My second thought - So, the federal government is going to give me $208 dollars a year back, but California is going to take $2K from me. That means, ultimately, I will be behind by $1,792 a year. If the secret to building our economy again is to give money to the lower classes so they can spend money, well, I guess we have a great economy in California because they sure aren't going to be allowing me to spend any more of the money I earned how I see fit.

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