Archive for the ‘Utilities’ Category

What Whoopi Said: ‘Back Off Me!’

March 11, 2009

An anti-tax rant from the mouth of actress and talk-show hostess Whoopi Goldberg:

“I don’t mind payin’ a little more tax ’cause I make a good living. But I don’t wanna get it comin’ and goin’. I don’t wanna get the federal raised, and then the state raised, and then the phone tax raised, and then the television tax raised, and then the city tax. Back off me!”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. (Hat tip to the National Taxpayers Union)

Tax Hiker Of The Year

December 17, 2008

New York Gov. David Paterson wins the award for this laundry list of items he has proposed taxing:

  • — Downloaded music — the “iPod tax”
  • — Cable and satellite television
  • — Movie tickets
  • — Taxi rides
  • — Massages
  • — Tobacco and alcohol

And that’s just a sampling of the 80-plus new fees and taxes on his list. Paterson also is the brains behind the call for an “obesity tax” on soda. Yet another reason to be thankful that I live in Virginia.

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.

A Century Of Tax Mischief

May 5, 2008

My Dad forwarded to me an e-mail that included this gem about all of the taxes conceived in the minds of politicians over the past century (the impact of several of them on just our family has been chronicled on this blog):

Accounts receivable tax
Building permit tax
CDL license tax
Cigarette tax
Corporate income tax
Dog license tax
Federal income tax
Federal unemployment tax
Fishing license tax
Food license tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline tax
Hunting license tax
Inheritance tax
Inventory tax
IRS interest charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor tax
Luxury tax
Marriage license tax
Medicare tax
Property tax
Real-estate tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security tax
Road usage tax (truckers)
Sales taxes
Recreational vehicle tax
School tax
State income tax
State unemployment tax
Telephone taxes
— Federal excise
— Universal service fee
— Federal, state and local surcharges
— Minimum-usage surcharge
— Taxes on recurring and non-recurring phone charges
— State and local phone taxes
— Telephone-usage charge tax
Utility tax
Vehicle registration tax
Vehicle sales tax
Watercraft registration tax
Well permit tax
Workers compensation tax

The kicker to the e-mail: “Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?'”

Save The Fish, Tax The People

February 19, 2008

The cost of drinking water in Southern California could jump as much as 14.3 percent thanks in part to a federal court’s attempts to save fish.

The North County Times in the San Diego/Riverside area reports that an official with the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District cited an August ruling aimed at protecting the habitat of Northern California’s tiny Delta smelt. The Quagga mussel that has invaded the water supply also is clogging pumps and equipment. And electricity is more costly.

It’s a triple tax whammy — and it would come on top of a 5.8 percent increase a year ago.

I love this tax-hiking rationale from Encinitas Counciman Jim Bond, who said many people might not notice the increase because water is cheaper than other utilities: “[W]hen you think that an average family uses half an acre-foot of water a year, that $25 per acre-foot is not an egregious amount.”

I’m not so sure Americans will agree when they find themselves in poverty by a thousand tax hikes.

Naturally They Tax Natural Gas

February 11, 2008

The gas bill we received late last month, and just paid, included $1.98 for the “natural gas consumption tax” and another $3 for the local “utility service tax.”

The “electric consumption tax” we paid in a separate bill packs just as much voltage, adding $2.18 to our tax bill for the last half of December and first half of January.

The Tax Hikers Of El Paso

February 6, 2008

Some officials in El Paso, Texas, want to jack up the utilities tax on natural gas to expand the city budget, but the local newspaper said it’s time to say no. The logic of the El Paso Times is one that should be adopted for taxes in general:

No to a buck here and a buck there … oh, and just a buck over there, too. … “A buck here, a buck there, pretty soon it adds up to real money.” We all see our taxes adding up to real money. Out-of-control taxes, fees and rates need to stop.