I’ve been in a funk since the 2009-10 state budget passed. The state’s elected leaders entered the budget negotiations confronting a potential $20 billion deficit, up from the $14 billion estimated when the Governor released his original budget proposal. That is, the state would have run a $20 billion deficit in 2009-10 if spending and revenue continued without changing anything structural (like tax rates or spending formulae). The faltering economy could no longer satisfy the state’s addiction to ever-greater spending.
Given such a dire forecast, we all wondered how the state would manage to find the money to avoid a major reduction in spending. Imagine our surprise when the Legislature and Governor pulled a rabbit out of the budgetary hat and increased budgeted spending by $12 billion, nearly 9% more than in 2008-09.
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I did it! I got my taxes filed on time AGAIN. This may not seem so miraculous to many of you, but I’m on a 12 step program for late filers. Early each year I seek out a group of my fellows for support in my struggle: “Hi, my name’s Kent. And I’m addicted to Form 4868.” If you don’t know what Form 4868 is, well, I’m begging you, PLEASE, don’t start. You’ll tell yourself it will just be just this once, but . . .
In honor of having stayed on the wagon for another year, I figured I’d write about taxes.
Some weeks ago I received an email containing a comparison of taxes paid under Clinton v. Bush II. Sent by a good friend, I was one of many names on the list. In the message, my friend challenged someone to confirm these figures, which claimed to show deep reductions in taxes paid under George Bush, deep reductions that became proportionately smaller as income rose.
The subtext of the message was something like, “I know that Bush cut taxes. But only for the fat cats, not for regular people.”
When no one else replied, I took on the task.
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