'Tax Freedom Day' later here than in most other states
by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Very soon now, Massachusetts taxpayers will be released from serfdom. They can stop working for the king and begin to work for themselves. I'm really glad we fought that Revolutionary War, or we might still be paying a tax on tea, too!

Tax Freedom Day was created by the Washington-based Tax Foundation to celebrate when Americans have earned enough money to pay all federal, state and local taxes for the year. This year, it's April 9 for the average American taxpayer, but the Tax Foundation warns that in future years it will arrive later because of the "historically massive deficits."

Tax Freedom Day doesn't count the national deficit even though deficits must eventually be financed. According to the Tax Foundation, "Since 1948, when Tax Freedom Day was first calculated, the difference between what governments are spending and what they're collecting has never been as great as during 2009 and 2010. If Americans were required to pay for all government spending this year, including the $1.3 trillion federal budget deficit, they would be working until May 17 before they had earned enough to pay their taxes an additional 38 days of work."

Foundation analysts estimate the new national health care law's taxes will add an estimated two to three days of work.

The Tax Foundation also computes Tax Freedom Day for each state. For Massachusetts taxpayers, it falls on April 14, the sixth latest date in the nation.

Other data shows the comparative tax burdens of the 50 states, without the federal taxes included. Massachusetts' per capita tax is $5,377, fifth highest in the nation, and 25.5 percent above the national average.

Coincidentally, April 14 is also the date that the Boston Tea Party will be having a rally on Boston Common from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sarah Palin is coming to town for this event, as part of a cross-country tour that began in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's hometown of Searchlight, Nev., and will end, for now, in Washington, D.C., on April 15, just as most Americans are filing their annual tax returns.

Here in Essex County, taxpayers have been given an extension until May 11 because of the rain. The following weekend, the North Shore Tea Party is planning a taxpayer stand-out in Salem. By then, those who filed early will have their refunds.

I've got my refund already from the state and spent some of it on a dark mocha/cherry something during an organizational meeting I covered last weekend. It was my first visit ever to a Starbucks! The coffee alone was so good that I didn't need something to dunk in it, so in the long run I'll save both money and calories!

I never understood the tax-filing procrastination thing. The government takes my money before I even get my paycheck and gives me no interest on the "loan." I'm always afraid if I'm due a refund that some "spread the wealth around" president will consider me "rich" and decide to keep it. California actually delayed refunds last year because of its fiscal crisis, so I keep my withholding as tight as possible, which was one reason I owed the Feds money this year.

Another reason was that I cashed in savings bonds that my father purchased when my son was born. He intended the money for his grandchild, and would be sorry we had to share it with the government. He'd feel worse knowing that along with taking "its share" of the bond gains, the government has charged trillions of dollars to his great-grandchildren through the extraordinary national debt.

I can imagine Dad pausing in his heavenly pursuits to quote Thomas Jefferson: "... neither the representatives of a nation nor the whole nation itself assembled can validly engage debt beyond what they may pay in their own lifetime ... (lest we) be committed to the English career of debt, corruption and rottenness closing with revolution."

Just in time: According to The Washington Post, "A series of national polls conducted by Republican survey researcher David Winston over the past several months found that 'roughly one in five people (17 percent) consider themselves members of the tea party movement.'" For starters ...

Speaking of taxes: There was an interesting exchange on ABC's "This Week" last Sunday. In response to a question by host Jake Tapper about Democrats' chances in the coming election, George Will noted that "in less than nine months there will be a huge tax increase as the Bush tax cuts expire."

Liberal economist Robert Reich disputed this as an election issue: "That tax increase is only on the people with $250,000 or more in earnings," he said. To which Will responded, with a slight smile, "Which is to say most of those affected by the Bush tax cuts will still be getting the Bush tax cuts, is what you're saying."

Which is to say that the tax cuts weren't just for the rich, as the Democrats always claimed. Happy Tax Freedom Day, patriots.

And for Massachusetts liberals: A gift from Citizens for Limited Taxation, which filed a bill after the income tax rollback was passed by voters in 2000, which allowed those opposed to the rollback to pay the higher rate instead. You'll find that line on your state tax form. Feel free to contribute more.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle Tribune newspapers; bi-weekly in the Tinytown Gazette; and occasionally in the Lowell Sun, Providence (RI) Journal and other newspapers.

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