Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Since April 15 is approaching quickly (or are we approaching it quickly? either way . . . ) I gathered all of my tax info together this past weekend, purchased Turbo Tax and sat at the table and attempted to make sense of the W2, 1099-INTs, 1091s, mortgage statements, tax bills, receipts and the charitable thank-yous. From this exercise, I conclude the following:

1) I pay too much. I admit it, I earn a very decent wage, but when I look at the amount of tax I pay to the federal government, New York and New Jersey (not to mention the Social Security tax and the Medicare tax and add on top of that my property taxes), it boggles my mind. I understand the necessity of taxes and I don't mind paying my fair share. But when I see the amount of money I pay to Washington, Trenton and Albany I can't help but think that the elected officials of both parties don't do enough to keep spending under control. This is not a partisan statement . . . Republicans are (almost) just as guilty as Democrats when it comes to pork barrel and cookie jar spending. Stop it! I'm more likely to vote for someone who makes tough decisions and stays true to fiscal responsibility than one who just tries to bring as much he bacon back to his/her home district as he/she can.

2) The Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) sucks and Congress needs to fix it. It was meant to make sure millionaires didn't escape paying federal taxes by loading up on itemized deductions. While the tax brackets have changed significantly and the tax code has been amended numerous times, the AMT has stayed pretty much the same. The result -- the AMT now hits many people who make significantly less than the millionaires the AMT was meant to nab. I do well for myself, but the AMT has increased my tax bill significantly because such things as property tax and state income tax deductions are eliminated. Unfortunately I get hurt by living in a state where property taxes are completely out of whack and work in a state where the income tax is one of the highest in the land. True tax relief cannot be had without adjusting the AMT.

3) The capital gains tax and tax on dividends, as they are today, should be made permanent (if not lowered). I won't bore you with details on this one. Let's just say people shouldn't be penalized at a rate higher than their income tax bracket merely because an investment they have paid off.

4) Doing my taxes always reminds me why I'm a supply sider.

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