Archive for April, 2008

Road Trippin’

April 28, 2008

I made a trip to Atlanta last week for a work-related conference. It’s a 10-hour drive and I hate to fly, so I drove and was able to take Kimberly and the kids with me.

My company paid most of the tab, save for food and tourism for the family. I didn’t include the taxes my company paid in the weekly tax bite, but I wanted to make note of it in a separate entry just to give readers a sense of how much travel can add to the expenses their companies pay.

The tax tally for my Atlanta trip:
— Hotel (Courtyard Marriott in Buckhead): $76.50, for three lousy nights!
— Gas in South Carolina (35.2 cents a gallon): $9.60
— Gas in Virginia (38 cents a gallon): $5.35
— Food: $2.39

Most of my food was covered as part of the Heritage Resource Bank I attended. Taxes most certainly were paid on those meals as well, but I have no way of calculating them.

In any case, the Media Research Center is out somewhere around an extra $100 just because of the taxes accrued on one work-related trip. Imagine the tax bite taken out of companies across America every year because of travel. The number has to be astounding.

Tax Bite, Week 17

April 26, 2008

April 20-26
Gasoline: $5.71
Groceries: $1.79
Prepared foods: $0.05
Eat-In/Other: $8.23
Sales: $5.63

Weekly total: $21.41
Year-to-date total: $10,943.89
(includes monthly tax bite)

Taxing The Tourists

April 24, 2008

Our family is Atlanta the rest of this week. I’m here for week, and my wife and kids tagged along. They toured the Coca-Cola factory today and bought some goodies.

The sales taxes, at the exorbitant rate of 8 percent, totaled $4.78.

No Taxes On Bottled Water

April 23, 2008

I love the South, and I discovered another reason to love it today.

While on a road trip for a work-related conference in Atlanta, our family bought some bottled water at a Flying J in South Carolina. The state didn’t tax us one red cent for the right to satisfy our thirst. I couldn’t believe it!

Sing Along On Tax Freedom Day

April 22, 2008

Tomorrow is Tax Freedom Day. Theoretically speaking, every penny you have earned since Jan. 1 this year has gone to the government in the form of one tax or another. But tomorrow you can celebrate your freedom from the taxers and spenders!

“I work almost four months a year until I’m finally free. Every penny that I earn they keep ’til April 23.”

Big Donut, Big Taxes

April 22, 2008

When I moved to the Washington, D.C., area in 1991, a friend introduced me to a giant donut called the “bear claw.” I loved them but haven’t had one in several years. I found one this morning in a coffee shop on the way to work and couldn’t resist.

I should have resisted because Aunt Virginia and her little sister (the city of Alexandria) robbed me of another 13 cents in taxes for the pleasure of imbibing in that giant donut. That made me sicker at my stomach than the sugar rush.

Paper Or Plastic? A Taxing Question

April 21, 2008

Remember the good ‘ol days when grocery stores gave you the choice between paper and plastic bags for your goodies? Those days are mostly gone as stores now bag everything in plastic — and that has the nanny-state tree-huggers in California rarin’ for a fight.

It’s not that they want the paper back, mind you. They just don’t want people hauling groceries in plastic any more. One legislator wants to tax the bags to make people think twice about using them.

Yes, you heard that right, a plastic bag tax. The idea is so bizarre that I don’t even know what category to apply to it in this blog.

So I guess it’s time for a new one: “Stupid Taxes.”

Tax Bite, Week 16

April 19, 2008

April 13-19
Gasoline: $10.08
Groceries: $5.26
Eat-In/Other: $3.39
Sales: $3.16

Weekly total: $21.89
Year-to-date total: $10,922.48
(includes monthly tax bite)

Glad To Be Commuting In Virginia

April 18, 2008

I’ve lived in the Washington, D.C., area for more than 17 years now and have commuted from Northern Virginia into the city all of that time except the last few months. I love my new commute to Alexandria, Va., much better for various reasons.

Add to the list the perpetual threat of a “commuter tax” being imposed by the District of Columbia. The idea — one of the most economically foolhardy ideas envisioned by bureaucrats who somehow always manage to best themselves in that area — has been floated for longer than I’ve been in the area, and its fans will never stop fighting for the tax.

They’re not above imposing a commuter tax by subterfuge, either:

The recent clean air bill introduced by D.C. Council members Jim Graham and Phil Mendelson should be called what it really is: a proposal for a de facto commuter tax.

The “Department of Transportation Clean Air Compliance Fee Act of 2008” would impose a fee on all employee parking spaces that do not “generate sales and use tax directed to the District Department of Transportation Unified Fund.”

If enacted, the bill would require businesses to pay $25 per month per parking space in which an employee parks a motor vehicle at least two days per week whether or not those spaces are identified as or even reserved for employees. And although the fee is technically imposed on the landowner, the bill allows the fee to be passed on to whomever uses the spaces — the commuters.

What Taxes Can ‘Due’ To You

April 16, 2008

The proud-to-be-liberal New York Times celebrated income-tax day by publishing a pro-tax column that touts an admittedly “sneaky” plan.

The writer, Richard Conniff, said the government should abolish “taxes” — the word, not the practice — and instead start referring to its money-grubbing ways as the collection of “dues.”

Sadly, that sounds like just the kind of deceitful plan politicians and bureaucrats will rush to embrace. They’ve long preferred to hide new taxes under the guise of “fees,” and they love word games. Remember that debate over the meaning of the word “is”?

Look for the “dues” debate to come to a legislative body near you.

A Musical Monkees Interlude

April 16, 2008

I’ll go insane if I think and write exclusively about the nightmare that is American taxation for the next year, so here’s a musical interlude from the Monkees:

Why that song? Because it was the No. 1 song on the day I was born: Nov. 4, 1966. I just learned that today thanks to a pointer to a Web site that let’s people identify their birth song. You can go find yours here.

A Holiday From Gas Taxes And More

April 15, 2008

I’m all for this idea from Republican presidential candidate John McCain:

Republican Sen. John McCain on Tuesday called for a summer-long suspension of the federal gasoline tax and several tax cuts as the likely presidential nominee sought to stem the public’s pain from a troubled economy.

Happy Income-Tax Day!

April 15, 2008

Don’t forget to mail your returns by midnight — and when you do, give some serious thought to the flaws of our current income-tax system.

This video, which makes the case for either a flat income tax or a national sales tax, is a good place to start. It’s now the featured video on Eyeblast TV, where I serve as the executive producer.

Tax Bite, Week 15

April 12, 2008

April 6-12
Gasoline: $5.88
Groceries: $5.37
Eat-In/Other: $2.90
Sales: $7.97
Postage: $2.15 (to mail income-tax forms)

Weekly total: $24.27
Year-to-date total: $10,900.59
(includes monthly tax bite)

The Tax Check Is In The Mail

April 7, 2008

I finalized our state and federal income-tax forms over the weekend. The paperwork weighed enough that Kimberly had to put them on the scales at the post office before we mailed them to Uncle Sam and Aunt Virginia.

That $2.15 in postage is being recorded here both because the U.S. Postal Service is kinda like Uncle Sam’s ugly stepchild and because the $2.15 is a direct result of Uncle Sam and Aunt Virginia taxing my family.