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TAXES: Our burden is relatively light

Letter by Suzi Loya, Gig Harbor on Aug. 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm with 47 Comments »
August 1, 2011 2:40 pm

Personally, I don’t get the brouhaha over taxes. How can one feel a tax burden when ours is actually the lowest in decades? Some citizens of modern countries pay more than half their earnings in taxes.

I have read that 45 percent of Americans pay no taxes. And, apparently, this includes America’s richest citizens and corporations. How can we expect a government to function without collecting revenue?

I pay for safe infrastructure (even though I drive very little). I pay for quality education (even though my daughter went to private school). I pay for safe neighborhoods (even though I have never called first responders or the 911 system). And I want my government to care about the quality of life of its most vulnerable citizens. So, I pay my taxes and shut up about it.

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  1. alindasue says:

    Ms. Loya,

    Thank you.

    Too often when the subject of funding public infrastructure and services with public funds (ie taxes), accusations of “socialism” and “communism” are flung about by people who often don’t even fully understand what those terms mean.

    Then there is the “taxed enough” crowd who feel that only things they personally use are worthy of of funding and other things they may not use, like in your case with public schools, are unworthy of their dollars. They fail to see what you and I see: that if we increase the quality of life for our community as a whole, we increase our own quality of life as well.

    Compared to other countries, we are not highly taxed. Even in our weak economy, all but the most destitute homeless in this country live at a higher standard of living than the average person in many other countries. We can afford to support our communities.

    (Before anyone says anything about taxes driving away business, consider this: I’m sure those businesses sending jobs oversees would be just as willing to work under our tax structure if we too would be willing to house multi-generations together in small houses or apartments and would be willing to consider mere dollars a day as “high wages”. It’s not lower taxes; it’s cheap labor that saves them money by moving jobs oversees.)

  2. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Suzi- our taxes are not the lowest in decades. That would depend on what your income level is and where you live.

    For the bottom half of income earners, yes, their FEDERAL taxes are lowest in 60 years. The bottom half is not complaining about taxes, but jobs. The top half is arguing that the bottom half pays NOTHING in federal income taxes then demands services remain the same or go up (obamacare, mortgage bailouts).

    Include sales tax increases, property/school tax, your fee to drive over the bridge, etc. and your taxes have proably gone up.

  3. KARDNOS says:

    Suzi….it’s called GREED.

    As my dad used to say, some people would complain if they were hung with a new rope.

    When you see the made up word “Obamacare” you know you are dealing with one of them.

  4. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Suzi, by writing this letter you are not exactly shutting up about it.

    “I have read that 45 percent of Americans pay no taxes. And, apparently, this includes America’s richest citizens”- ????

    KARD- Who is greedy? The guy who surpasses his peers, takes a risk, makes some money, and pays taxes or the 50% that pay no taxes then demand services?

  5. aislander says:

    Those who pay no taxes are by no means the rich (although some few of them MAY escape paying), but the poorer fifty percent. Right now the upper one percent of earners garners 20% of income, but pays nearly 40% of taxes. You say that “some citizens of modern countries pay more than half their earnings in taxes.” I guess that makes US a “modern country”, since upper-bracket residents of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, New York, et al pay more than fifty percent of their income in taxes. As a matter of fact, the UN says the US has the MOST progressive tax system in the world, with the “rich” paying more here than in any other industrialized nation.

    You may believe all that is a good thing, that OUR rich are punished more for the crime of success than are the rich of other nations, but I think it is a sad commentary on a nation that once viewed itself as the most free in the world, and is a huge contributor to our current economic malaise…

  6. aislander says:

    By the way, the upper tax bracket in the ’80s was substantially lower than it now is….

  7. KARDNOS says:

    “KARD- Who is greedy? The guy who surpasses his peers, takes a risk, makes some money, and pays taxes or the 50% that pay no taxes then demand services?”

    I see you left out the guy that pays no taxes, gets a subsidy, complains about the taxes he doesn’t pay and enjoys the services.

  8. KARDNOS says:

    If 45% of Americans don’t pay taxes it is because 45% of Americans don’t make enough money.

    Where’s those great jobs that were promised?

  9. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Suzi
    If you feel guilty feel free to send them a check. For me I pay enough in tax. To remind you here is a short list.

    Accounts Receivable Tax
    Building Permit Tax
    CDL license Tax
    Cigarette Tax
    Corporate Income Tax
    Dog License Tax
    Excise Taxes
    Federal Income Tax
    Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
    Fishing License Tax
    Food License Tax
    Fuel Permit Tax
    Gasoline Tax (42 cents per gallon)
    Gross Receipts Tax
    Hunting License Tax
    Inheritance Tax
    Inventory Tax
    IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
    Liquor Tax
    Luxury Taxes
    Marriage License Tax
    Medicare Tax
    Personal Property Tax
    Property Tax
    Real Estate Tax
    Service Charge Tax
    Social Security Tax
    Road Usage Tax
    Sales Tax
    Recreational Vehicle Tax
    School Tax
    State Income Tax
    State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
    Tangible Taxes
    Telephone Federal Excise Tax
    Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
    Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
    Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
    Telephone Recurring and Non-recurring Charges Tax
    Telephone State and Local Tax
    Telephone Usage Charge Tax
    Utility Taxes
    Vehicle License Registration Tax
    Vehicle Sales Tax
    Watercraft Registration Tax
    Well Permit Tax
    Workers Compensation Tax

    “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 the heck happened? Can you spell “politicians!”

    And I still have to “press 1″

    for English.

  10. aislander says:

    One hundred years ago, taxedenoughintacoma, progressivism was just beginning to bite…

  11. bobcat1a says:

    Now taxedenough… you need to explain some of those taxes you pay.
    You really pay Federal Income Tax and Corporate Income Tax? How is that?
    You pay inheritance tax? How many times have you inherited that much money? You must be quite fortunate to have so many wealthy relatives dying.
    You pay state income tax? Where do you live? Not Washington!
    What Luxury tax do you pay? And what the heck is a Tangible Tax? Is that one you can actually touch and has weight? Seems a little redundant.
    What Excise Tax do you pay that is not already mentioned in your list? Double dipping a little? A lot? Like how is a real estate tax different from a property tax?

  12. xx98411 says:

    Where’s those great jobs that were promised?

    Talk to Obama and Biden… hey, Jeffery Immelt is actually the man to talk to…

  13. alindasue says:

    taxedenoughintacoma,

    To add to bobcat1a’s list, here’s a few that I can also point out:

    CDL license tax – You pay for the test to obtain your CDL endorsement. Aside from that, it’s just like renewing your driver’s license. It is not a tax.

    Vehicle Sales Tax is the same as Sales Tax. It is not a separate tax.

    As far as I can tell, “Service Charge Tax” is just normal sales tax on whatever service charges a vendor or agent charges you for his services. Again, it is simply Sales Tax and not a separate tax.

    My personal favorite from your list is IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties. You only pay this “tax” if you haven’t paid your tax bill by the due date, or extension date if you filled for one. It’s no more a tax than the late fee my mortgage company charges if I pay my bill late.

    Perhaps, if you looked at your tax load a little more honestly, you wouldn’t feel nearly as “taxed” as you currently do…

  14. alindasue says:

    I forgot to mention another of the redundancies in taxedenoughintacoma’s list.

    School Tax – the only “school” taxes I can think of might be the sales tax you pay on your tuition costs or the portion of your property tax that goes to fund local school bonds and levies. Either way, this also is not a separate tax.

  15. LarryFine says:

    … your not really making a dent alinda or bobcat.

  16. Ms. Loya, please shut up shutting up about paying your taxes.

    That was a joke, folks.

  17. menopaws says:

    The letter writer wasn’t talking so much about taxes as she was about citizenship. and, she is obviously a good citizen that believes that part of enjoying the benefits of society means expecting to pay for them. The whole”tax and spend”crowd doesn’t get that message. In this life, you truly get what you pay for. Mediocrity in government comes from not looking at value for $$$ spent.. So, my main comment is to remember that this writer wasn’t opening the door for more partisan spin and who is to blame for our mess…….she was talking as a responsible citizen who understands what HER role is. Refreshing for a change.

  18. schipperke says:

    The common denominators that will be the downfall of our country is lack of common sense and abundant greed. I will add another issue to the wide variety of comments. Business owners know they can push the envelope for years without getting caught. If and when the IRS catches up to them the usual result is paying on underpaid taxes for an audit period of three years. So the business owner still comes out ahead in the long run and collected tax revenue is diminished.

  19. schipperke says:

    Oops, forgot to mention the state of our country is due extreme complacency by our society. Our grandchildren will pay the price for our inability to “say something if we see something (amiss)”. It takes time and energy to get involved other than just writing a letter to the editor.

  20. It is absolutely time the 45%(or 47%) of people not paying federal income tax start paying something. A little skin in the game is a good thing! But our real issue is spending. Just look at the spending levels from this President. They are unprecedented, with no end in sight. It is NOT a revenue issue; it is a spending addiction.

  21. KARDNOS says:

    “Workers Compensation Tax

    “Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago,”

    Wasn’t our workplace a wonderful and safe place to be?

  22. KARDNOS says:

    Let’s make the lower incomes pay more while the wealthy get more breaks.

    The American Way.

  23. KARDNOS says:

    “menopaws says:
    August 2, 2011 at 6:34 am
    The letter writer wasn’t talking so much about taxes as she was about citizenship. and, she is obviously a good citizen that believes that part of enjoying the benefits of society means expecting to pay for them. The whole”tax and spend”crowd doesn’t get that message.

    Like I said – greed

  24. KARDNOS says:

    “LarryFine says:
    August 2, 2011 at 5:42 am
    … your not really making a dent alinda or bobcat.

    THEIR what?????

  25. KARDNOS says:

    Ditto

    :::::waste not the sarcasm:::::::

  26. KARDNOS says:

    I just got a refund from my tax and insurance portion of my mortgage. Obviously my taxes went down.

  27. KARDNOS says:

    From Yahoo Finance:

    About 47 percent will pay no federal income taxes at all for 2009. Either their incomes were too low, or they qualified for enough credits, deductions and exemptions to eliminate their liability. That’s according to projections by the Tax Policy Center, a Washington research organization.

    Amazing stuff, huh?

    Almost half of American homes don’t make enough to pay taxes.

    We are finally achieving “greatness”

  28. menopaws says:

    This morning I saw a short news story about a man who owns, I believe, a restaurant…….It could have been a retail store—I came in the room at the end of this story. He has posted a sign by his cash register that reads” Whiners will be charged an additional fee of $5.” I think we all need to take a deep breath and move away from all the whining and complaining. This women wrote an important letter about her citizenship. I respect every word of what she wrote. If I owned a store–my sign would read ” Whiners will be placed at the back of the line endlessly until they either leave this store or shut up!” Probably would go broke, but definitely with a big grin while I was doing it. The spin is getting tedious and maybe this lady has an important point. I think being a good citizen might mean more than any party label…….

  29. LarryFine says:

    “Obviously my taxes went down” … see, even you benefited from the Bush tax cuts.
    .
    “diddo”… still cracks me up. ;)

  30. “LarryFine says:
    August 2, 2011 at 10:52 am
    “Obviously my taxes went down” … see, even you benefited from the Bush tax cuts.”

    If you are going to respond to my comment, LF, at least TRY to read what I said. I was talking about mortgage tax payments. You know – COUNTY taxes. That has nothing to do with Bush.

  31. Oh….actually maybe my property tax does have something to do with Bush. Prior to September of 2008, my house was worth more.

  32. Omega6234 says:

    What i get in return from paying my taxes is even lighter.

  33. LarryFine says:

    Sorry, I barely read any of your posts.

    Maybe the reason your property taxes went down is because your home value continues to deteriorate under O’Bama.

  34. LarryFine says:

    “diddo” omega.

  35. alindasue says:

    Omega6234 said, “What i get in return from paying my taxes is even lighter.”

    Yet your return, and the return for our society, is still more than if you didn’t pay taxes.

    As menopaws pointed out, “The spin is getting tedious and maybe this lady has an important point. I think being a good citizen might mean more than any party label…….”

    menopaws, I agree with you 100% on this matter. It is counterproductive to put a partisan spin on every issue. Part of being a good citizen means actively participating in and SUPPORTING the community.

  36. Omega6234 says:

    So… we should be “good citizens” and just take whatever?? Sorry… some people skeptical about where our axes are spent and how much waste is created on both sides. I guess “good citizen” means sheep or follower to you.

  37. xx98411 says:

    Part of being a good citizen means actively participating in and SUPPORTING the community.

    True that… all the more reason to get the 47% who pay no little to no federal income tax to actually some income tax. $10.00 to $20.00 a paycheck at a bare minimum… just something, put some skin in the game.

    Now that is participation, advocating for something and paying for it… no matter how little.

  38. kardnos,I suspect all the jobs that were promised went to China, Mexico,Etc.As you can see they apparently didn’t mean for the Americans to have them.

  39. KARDNOS says:

    Again…I see the willingness to take from those that don’t have…..

  40. KARDNOS says:

    there are some people that will manipulate a statement to their own viewpoint regardless of how simple the real meaning is to understand.

    With sarcasm, you can always bet these people will ALWAYS twist the issue.

  41. Year, Top Rate (%), Taxable income over:
    1980, 70, 212,000
    1981, 50, 212,000
    1982, 50, 106,000
    1983, 50, 159,000
    1984, 50, 159,000
    1985, 50, 165,480
    1986, 50, 171,580
    1987, 38.5, 90,000
    1988, 28, 29,750, phase out tax = effective rate was 33%
    1989, 28, 32,450, phase out tax = effective rate was 33%
    2010, 35, 373,650
    2011, 35, 379,150

    http://www.ntu.org/tax-basics/history-of-federal-individual-1.html

  42. LarryFine says:

    At least sumn-one finally acknowledges that taxing is taking… we are making progress.

  43. LarryFine says:

    Where’s the bottom brackets xring ? You do know the Bush tax cuts lowered those too… don’t you ?

  44. aislander says:

    Yeah, LF, the bottom bracket got a 50% reduction under Bush, and lots of taxpayers dropped out of the rolls altogether…

  45. LarryFine says:

    Kooky, crickets from the wallpaper poster and his Protégé…

  46. We pay for civilization. Many of the comments on this letter come from barbarians clamoring at the door.

  47. beerBoy says:

    10% is a more honest number……..but…..who cares about honesty when trying to make a point on the internet?

    The 47 percent number is not wrong. The stimulus programs of the last two years — the first one signed by President George W. Bush, the second and larger one by President Obama — have increased the number of households that receive enough of a tax credit to wipe out their federal income tax liability.

    But the modifiers here — federal and income — are important. Income taxes aren’t the only kind of federal taxes that people pay. There are also payroll taxes and investment taxes, among others. And, of course, people pay state and local taxes, too.

    Even if the discussion is restricted to federal taxes (for which the statistics are better), a vast majority of households end up paying federal taxes. Congressional Budget Office data suggests that, at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes. The number 10 is obviously a lot smaller than 47.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/business/economy/14leonhardt.html

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