Illinois’ Obnoxious Cell Phones Taxes

Illinois was fifth in a ranking of extra wireless costs, the Tax Foundation said, with the user paying an average of about 21.8 percent in additional federal, state and local taxes and fees. Only callers in Nebraska, Washington, New York and Florida pay more.

via Chicago Tribune.

I was just talking to someone about this the other day.  Ya know, if you move your “address” out of state you can avoid some of these fees.  With paperless billing does it really matter where the company sends (or doesn’t send) your bill?

I’m sure people who live in Indiana or Wisconsin burn plenty of minutes across the border.  Seems like a reasonably solution to me.


$55 Million Paid to Kids to Do Nothing

Records provided to CNN show that $54.5 million was spent on the NRI program, mostly through the governor’s discretionary fund, which doesn’t require legislative approval.

The only data on the program’s accomplishments come directly from the Illinois Violence Prevention Authority. The NRI states that it created more than 3,484 jobs, provided counseling for more than 3,100 children, and helped 1,175 ex-cons.  …

NRI participants were paid $8.75 an hour, first to receive mentoring from adults, and then go out to pitch positive messages and hand out fliers in their neighborhoods.  …

[S]tudents earned $8.75 an hour to visit the DuSable Museum of African American History and to the National Museum of Mexican Art.

What the ??

Why would taxpayers pay for kids to attend mentoring?  It would be like paying them to play basketball or video games or go to school.

$54.5 million / 3,484 jobs / $8.75 / hour = 1,787 hours & $15,642.94 per person.  This is nothing more than paying kids for doing the right thing.


$45k/yr is the “New Rich”

Implemented in 1969 to make sure upper-income Americans pay their share of taxes, the AMT has increasingly snared more middle-income Americans over the years because it was never indexed for inflation.

During the 2011 tax year for example, the higher tax hit single taxpayers with incomes as low as $48,450 and joint filers making only $74,450.

But millions more Americans could be subject to the AMT in their 2012 returns if Congress fails to reach a deal on the fiscal cliff before year-end. That’s because the AMT is currently scheduled to hit individuals making as little as $33,750 a year and joint filers making $45,000.

via CNBC.

Being married and making over $45,000 a year is the “new rich.”


NYT: Tax Increases Coming (Two Months Late)

Americans’ taxes will rise in a few weeks. Though the direction is clear, the exact amount is yet to be determined.

More than a dozen tax cuts are set to expire Dec. 31 and a couple of new taxes are scheduled to start with the new year. Combined, they would affect nearly 90 percent of taxpayers, from the very richest to the very poorest, with the typical household’s tax bill rising by about $2,000 in 2013, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.


I had this story on Sept. 21.  I called it 100 Days until Taxmageddon.

Funny how the NYT saved this story until AFTER the election.

Businesses Expanding but Not Hiring

A majority of owners of midsized businesses in the Chicago area plan to expand in the next three months, but only a third say they will hire more workers in that time, according to a new survey.  …

The most recent poll … found that nearly 60 percent of surveyed businesses planned to expand in the next six months. …At the same time, just 30 percent plan to add staff in the next three months. In the spring survey, 42 percent said they planned to hire soon.

via Crain’s Chicago Business.

Businesses are terrified of the government.  So what do they do?  More as slowly as possible.  Hire as few as possible.  Be as conservative as possible.  Because the G is going to come and screw you up real bad at any minute.

Business are terrified of Obamacare.  The costs associated with bringing on new people is dizzying.  Hire someone today and down the road you may just have to fire them because their health care costs are out of control.

Running a business is hard.  Really hard.

Any business that tells you that they”could use “help from the government” is so big that they are fully in bed with the government.  Much like GE, or GM.  Recall that GE paid no taxes on $14B in income in 2010.  The GM fiasco speaks for itself.

The life blood of this country is in the small and medium sized businesses.  Right now these businesses are sick and we’re not nurturing them the way we should.  But they future is our future.

This country is heading in the wrong direction.

U.N. Wants New Global Taxes

A 1 percent tax on billionaires around the world. A tax on all currency trading in the U.S. dollar, the euro, the Japanese yen and the British pound sterling. Another “tiny” tax on all financial transactions, including stock and bond trading, and trading in financial derivatives. New taxes on carbon emissions and on airline tickets. A royalty on all undersea mineral resources extracted more than 100 miles offshore of any nation’s territory.

The United Nations is at it again: finding new and “innovative” ways to create global taxes that would transfer hundreds of billions, and even trillions, of dollars from the rich nations of the world — especially the U.S. — to poorer ones, in line with U.N.-directed economic, social and environmental development.

via Fox News.

The U.N. is proving itself to be a net negative.  I don’t agree much with the U.N. or Ted Turner but the latter made a great point once about how the U.N. gave Nikita Khrushchev the forum to bang his shoe and tell the world how the Soviet Union felt.  It doesn’t really matter whether Khrushchev actually banged his shoe or not.  The fact that he was able to stand up and speak his peace was perhaps enough to avoid another world war.

The U.N. is good at that; a place to permit leaders to go and speak their peace.

It sucks at absolutely everything else.

100 Days Until Taxmageddon

Sunday will mark the start of the 100-day countdown to “Taxmageddon” – the date the largest tax hikes in the history of America will take effect. They will hit families and small businesses in three great waves on January 1, 2013:

via Americans for Tax Reform.

Here’s a list of some of the new and raised taxes coming:

First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

  • Personal income tax rates will rise on January 1, 2013.
  • Higher taxes on marriage and family coming on January 1, 2013.
  • Middle Class Death Tax returns on January 1, 2013.
  • Higher tax rates on savers and investors on January 1, 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare Tax Hikes

  • Some Obamacare have already gone into effect: tanning tax, medicine cabinet tax, HSA withdrawal tax, W-2 health insurance reporting, and the “economic substance doctrine”
  • The Obamacare Medical Device Tax
  • The Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike
  • The Obamacare “Special Needs Kids Tax”
  • The Obamacare “Haircut” for Medical Itemized Deductions

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

  • The AMT will ensnare over 31 million families, up from 4 million last year
  • Full business expensing will disappear
  • Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses
  • Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced
  • Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed

… So at least we have that to look forward to.  Right?


Rahm: Higher Cigarette & Amusement Taxes

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is considering an increase in city taxes on cigarettes and entertainment to help close an anticipated $369 million gap in next year’s budget, City Hall sources said Wednesday.  …

It’s unclear how much the cigarette tax might be raised. A city tobacco tax increase would come on the heels of a $1-a-pack state hike that took effect July 1. The city last increased its cigarette tax by 20 cents — to 68 cents a pack — in 2006.

Taxes on a pack of cigarettes in Chicago total $5.67, the second-highest per-pack tax in the nation, behind New York City’s $5.85 a pack. The city expects to bring in $18.7 million in cigarette taxes this year, compared with $32.9 million just six years ago, according to city financial records.

via Chicago Tribune.

Cook County has already proven that when you raise cigarette taxes you lose revenue.  The city’s own numbers are another example of that.

Does Rahm have any plan to cut ANY spending?  Anything other than police officers?

Why don’t we shut down the TIFs?  Take fund necessary to pay off the bonds and do so; take the rest of the funds and return them to the general fund.  That would be quick and easy.

Enough with the !@#$^ taxes.

Ald. “New Tax” Cardenas Wants $5/mo

Chicago should impose a “safety and security fee” — as high as $5 a month on homes and businesses — to generate the $70 million needed to hire 700 additional police officers, an influential alderman said Thursday.

Ald. George Cardenas (12th), chairman of the City Council’s Health Committee, said Chicago desperately needs a surge in police hiring to ease a severe manpower shortage that has hamstrung the city’s ability to stop a surge in homicides and shootings.  …

Police and Fire are the very definition of general funds.  This is nothing more than a $60/year tax on everyone.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mike Shields said he would welcome “any new source of revenue” that could be used to bolster a police force that stands at 11,799 after a three-year hiring slowdown.

Through Aug. 15, 420 police officers had retired, but only 127 new officers had been hired, he said.

But, Shields said, “Why is it that we have to go to another source of revenue to pay for these officers? Policing is a basic city service that should be in the budget without a new fee. The mayor eliminated 1,252 police vacancies. The 2012 budget should not have been balanced at the expense of public safety. Those vacancies should have been filled.”   …

Cardenas is the aldermen who championed Chicago’s nickel-a-container tax on bottled water.He also proposed an anti-obesity plan to tax Chicago consumers of soda pop, energy drinks and other sugary beverages anywhere from 15 to 30 cents-a-contain to a penny-an-ounce.

via SunTimes.

How about we eliminate the TIFs and put all that money back into the general fund?  Then we’d have money for police, fire, and all kinds of other services.  Heck, we might even be able to fund the teachers’ pensions.

Ald. Cardenas, we’re taxed to death already!  Enough.

The Rich Are Getting Poorer

Trouble for those “Tax the Rich!” folks:

For the first time in history, rich people are actually getting poorer, and luxury retailers are freaking out about it.  …

“Because these same consumers are significantly invested in their high-end lifestyle with income committed to a wide-range of fixed expenses to maintain that lifestyle, it’s in discretionary spending where they are going to take their cuts. So that translates into less money to spend each month for clothes, shoes and handbags, jewelry and home decorative accessories. These folks have plenty of all that stuff already, so it is the easiest, most painless way to adjust one’s budget when there is less money coming in each month.”

via Business Insider.

Intelligent people already know that government budgets at the city, state, and federal level are so out of whack that even if we EAT THE RICH it’s still not going to make a dent in the deficits.

Our only hope out of this mess is economic growth… and a little inflation.