Archive for taxes

Kansas: "Another GOP state going to hell"


what's the matter with kansas

This is why I adore John Dean. Well, one of 1000 reasons. His tweet about Kansas was spot on. Come to think of it, what is the matter with Kansas? Rhetorical. See: Brownback, Gov. Sam.

The New York Times' (and MSNBC's) Josh Barro has the story, a story that begins with the sentence, "Kansas has a problem." No kidding:

In April and May, the state planned to collect $651 million from personal income tax. But instead, it received only $369 million.

In 2012, Kansas lawmakers passed a large and rather unusual income tax cut. It was expected to reduce state tax revenue by more than 10 percent, and Gov. Sam Brownback said it would create “tens of thousands of jobs.”

Wait... don't tell me how this ends. Let me guess. GOP fail? Brownback fail? Republican tax cut obsession fail? All at the expense of hard-working people fail? Or people who wish they could work hard? People that voted against their own interests because they believed that Kansas Klown? All of the above?

ding ding ding

Barro explains how, if he were living in Kansas, his MSNBC income would be tax-free. Lotta good that would do Kansans. Please proceed, Josh:

While no state has gone as far as Kansas, four others — Missouri, Ohio, Oregon and South Carolina — have passed laws in the last decade that give some small-business owners lower tax rates than wage earners.

By creating this preference for some types of income over others, Kansas has run into at least five problems...

And then he enumerates the problems. Please link over to read the whole post, but here's one of my favorite excerpts:

The Kansas Legislative Research Department — the state-level equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — issued a memo this month saying that “it appears that some of the fiscal notes associated with various income tax law changes enacted in 2012 and 2013 were understated.” Translation: It looks as if we gave out a bigger tax cut than we thought.

To quote Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

oops smaller



Laffy on the Nicole Sandler Show: Death & Taxes (and FloriDUH too)



Laffy was on the Nicole Sandler show this week (on Tax Day!) talking about

From the site:

If it’s Tuesday, we hang with GottaLaff of The Political Carnival too. She brought us these stories, and I threw in a few too…

Chris Christie accused of interfering with New Jersey ethics agency

Rick Perry lawyers up for criminal investigation of bribery, coercion, abuse of authority (VIDEO)

Marsha Blackburn ’16? Please proceed.

Iowa Sen. candidate smiles, says, “I’m going to use my Glock. To blow your balls off.

Listen to Nicole and Laffy here.


Tax Reform - DBA: Dead Before Arrival


Tax Return

We're heading into March, that month where everyone starts to realize they need to do that annual chore that we all hate. No, not spring cleaning. It's the annual financial paper round up, commonly referred to as tax prep. As with spring cleaning, we tend to put it off, find and make excuses to postpone the inevitable. It's got to get done and a deadline approaches.

Part of the ritual is to look for deductions, anything we can even remotely justify as a write-off no matter how tenuous the link may be to our reality. Anything, and I mean anything to lower our reported income to limit the damage inflicted upon us by the IRS. Hey, we have to pay the piper, but that doesn't mean it isn't painful.

Trying to make things easier and even more fair is the House Ways and Means Committee, chaired by Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). Yesterday the Republican-led committee released the framework of a complete overhaul of our tax laws to make this process easier. When the dust settled, we got 1000 pages of reform.

Even before this one grand of pages were released, the GOP party came out against it. They obviously hadn't read it because it hasn't been published but they knew they were against it. And the Democrats took a similar stand because "rumors" were that it would touch the third rail, figuratively speaking. It would cap the write-off for mortgage payment interest paid. That's generally the single largest write-off for individuals.

So the bill went from let's look-and-see to DOA. Actually DBA - dead before arrival.

I've got an alternative. Something so easy it's sure to be defeated, but let me offer it anyway. It's the old flat tax plan. A ten percent tax on all earnings. It can even be taken right out of your paycheck. And wait until you see your weekly take-home net received go up. You'll be smiling. Everyone pays the same percent as everyone else, rich and poor.

Oh, and did I add, thanks to Citizen's United where personhood has been blessed upon corporations, they too lose all of their "business related" write-offs. If they're people too, then they get no favored treatment. A straight 10% of revenues received are taxed. If some say that's unfair, a millionaire would be paying more than a pauper, it's all in the way you look at it. Right now a millionaire gets much more favored treatment - they get more write-offs. So that argument falls flat. This doesn't hurt incentive as the more you make, the more you net. And no more phony-baloney write-offs for corporate jets, holiday outings that are really vacations and no incentive to pay executives huge bonuses to lower the tax burdens for companies. They no longer get special treatment. They're people like us. And places like Verizon and GE who paid no taxes would be contributing 10% off the top.

Now wouldn't that increase our tax coffers! You want roads, bridges, modernized energy grids and more military spending. We'll have the funds to to do that and more. And think of all the trees we're saving that we use to make paper for the tax returns. Even our ecological systems will be improved by a simple one page form.

The people whom this hurts most are the accountants and IRS employees. We won't need as many. My answer to that is let them re-train. Isn't that what the GOP has been telling all of those out of work employees whose jobs the Republicans shipped overseas? Retrain the CPAs. Teach them  new skills. And if that's good for the "factory or lower skilled workers" today, why not the accountants and tax men for tomorrow?

Look, collecting tax revenue doesn't have to be hard or complicated. And think of all the cheats and phony write-offs that we won't be shouldering.  We'll actually be getting more revenue and might even be able to lower the tax rate from 10% to something even smaller.

Confession: This idea isn't just mine. It's been around for years. But to make my point more valid, even the most conservative of right wing conservative causes agrees: The Heritage Foundation.

The current tax system discourages saving. It discourages investment. It discourages entrepreneurship. It causes decision makers to misallocate the nation’s resources, limiting productivity gains, wage gains, and the nation’s overall level of international competitiveness. And, it is far, far too complicated. The New Flat Tax is the remedy. It replaces every major tax collected by the federal government. For non-seniors, it is as easy as one, two, three—one rate, two credits, three deductions. For seniors on Medicare, one of the two credits—for health insurance—is replaced by an extra deduction. The New Flat Tax is simple, revenue-neutral, and will allow America to achieve its full economic potential.


Gays And The NFL - Tax Exempt Status At Stake


football NFL

When the crazies get going, the going gets crazy. Yesterday there was an article circulating about Jack Burkman, a lobbyist trying to propose a bill that would ban gay players from the NFL.

What's crazy about that? Well everything from the fact that lobbyists can't propose bills, senators and congressmen must introduce them. But putting that behind, the fact that discrimination in the workplace is prohibited by law, this would stand in the way of such a bill. But some bills do pass that are found unconstitutional, then they're struck down.

Think of all that cost. And also think of this: The NFL exists as it does with a congressional granted tax exempt status. The multi-billion dollar industry saves millions because of that designation. You think they want to risk their non-profit status? According to CBS MoneyWatch:

This decision has saved the NFL uncounted millions in tax obligations, which means that ordinary people must pay higher taxes, public spending must decline, or the national debt must increase to make up for the shortfall. Nonprofit status applies to the NFL’s headquarters, which administers the league and its all-important television contracts.

The NFL is already under attack. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) has already introduced a bill to strip tax-exempt status from sports leagues. How many co-signers do you think would jump on that bandwagon if Congress were to even entertain a bill banning homosexuals from participating in the league?

Two days ago Jason Collins, an openly gay man, joined the NBA Brooklyn Nets. He played in his first game. And guess what? The league didn't collapse. When number 42, Jackie Robinson became the first black player in the MLB, the league didn't collapse. And when and if Michael Sam is drafted by the NFL, the league isn't going to sputter or disintegrate.

Life goes on. Bigotry must fall.

So before ending this post, it might be interesting to know a final fact or two about Jim Burkman, the lobbyist. Via HuffPo:

WASHINGTON -- A Republican lobbyist, [Jack Burkman], hawking a bill that would bar gays from playing in the National Football League has a younger brother who is gay [Jim Burkman].

“I think the idea that he is pushing legislation that is just hurtful and ridiculous is just plain stupid,” said Jim Burkman. “He is not a legislator and he can’t really push legislation. I don’t think there are any cosponsors for a bill. It is just an attention grab and a media grab to pander to those folks who pay him to lobby on their behalf.

Well, now it's time for the NFL to speak up -- and they should because they have a lot to lose -- millions -- if their tax exempt status should be removed. And if they don't come out as accepting of gays, you can count on their exempt status going the way of the "leather helmet" or "Statue of Liberty" play.