Archive for the ‘Lodging’ Category

Tax Bites By The Numbers

November 13, 2008

The Americans for Tax Reform Foundation has created an enlightening chart that estimates how much more money Americans must pay for certain goods and services because of taxes. Some of the taxes — the kind I have tracked here — appear on consumers’ bills, but many others are hidden.

Here’s the rundown from ATR:

  • Cigarettes: 81.3 percent more
  • Distilled spirits: 79.6 percent
  • Car rentals: 60.6 percent
  • Beer: 56.2 percent
  • Domestic airfare: 55 percent (much more for international, based on reports from a friend who travels abroad frequently)
  • Landline phones: 51.8 percent
  • Gasoline: 51.2 percent
  • Hotel stays: 50 percent
  • Cell phones: 46.4 percent
  • Cable television: 46.3 percent
  • Firearms: 45.6 percent
  • Restaurant meals: 44.8 percent
  • Soda: 37.6 percent

I don’t drink or smoke, so I’m not personally affected by the “sin taxes.” And while I own a couple of hunting guns, I haven’t bought a new one in almost 20 years, so firearms taxes aren’t likely to rob me of more cash. But I have been hit by every one of the other taxes on the list more than once this year.

I keep a copy of ATR’s chart in my office at work as a stark reminder of how intrusive the government is in my life and my wallet. You should print a copy, too, at fiscalaccountability.org.

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.