Tax day will soon be upon us. Not to be confused with Tax Freedom Day – the day be which our collective earnings is enough to pay our national tax bill for the year. That won’t come until April 24. No, I’m talking about Taxes Due Day… With my level of OCD I don’t wait until the last minute but paid mine this past week. I paid my 2015 taxes owed. Because I’m self employed I also paid my April monthly withholding taxes. And I paid my first quarterly estimated income tax payment. Three payments at one time, and that’s just to the Uncle Sam. I also made three payments to “Treasurer, State of Iowa”.
Conventional wisdom in political circles is that property taxes are the most reviled tax there is, because taxpayers actually have to write that big check. Because the income tax comes out of your paycheck before you pocket it, supposedly it is less painful. I would be the exception to the rule, because I hate the income tax.
Part of my hatred stems from the fact I actually make those payments myself as both employer and employee, so I’m acutely aware of how much money I’m giving to someone else to spend. Handing my hard earned cash over to my wife is one thing, Congress is something else entirely.
The other part of my disdain stems from my complete lack of trust, faith, call it what you will, in how my money – and it is my money – is being spent by someone else. And really, that only applies to the income tax and Congress.
I don’t have the same harsh feelings about my property tax bill. I know exactly how that is being spent. The schools – both the ones I attended as well as my kids – I’m ok with. I willingly accept my part of the social contract as I want an educated community and workforce. Sure, I’d like my property taxes to be as low as possible, but I don’t get angry during my biennial ritual of check writing. Perhaps its because it is local. I can see how my city council spends the money (big pot hole needs fixing on Lincoln Way). I can find my school board members. I want my sheriff, fire department and police officers. I’m ok with my property taxes.
It’s the income tax that riles me up. I feel as though I’m being forced to set my money on fire, and the harder I work the higher the flames. That is the return on investment I see. I’m fine with paying my fair share, if the money is spent wisely. Honestly, I would be – if I was paying my fair share, and if the money was spent wisely. To be clear I’m wagging my finger at Congress. Oh sure, the Iowa legislature has its ups and downs – but they will set a budget and pass ten appropriations bills. They always have – and the state constitution requires it to be balanced. In fact, our state government has money in the bank in the form of cash reserves and an economic emergency fund. When was the last time Congress did that?
That was a serious question. Well – not the part about a balanced budget. During my lifetime the federal government has only balanced the budget for four years, 1998-2001. Nor about having money in the bank, that just sounded silly as the national debt continues to skyrocket. My serious question was when was the last time Congress set a budget and passed the twelve appropriations bills that are supposed to make up the $4,100,000,000,000 federal budget – something called “regular order.” Except that there has been nothing regular about the Republicans in Congress.
Yes, its my own party that is responsible. For someone who identifies as a Republican its more than disappointing, its embarrassing. The last time Congress balanced the budget was 2001. Republicans have been the majority party in the House of Representatives for eleven of the last fifteen years and simply haven’t gotten the job done.
Republicans can’t blame Obama or the Democrats for their own inability to pass twelve appropriations bill. President Obama may not sign their bills, but they can’t event get them on the floor of the House for a vote, so we’ll never know. And reduce the debt? Phewy. Republicans can’t even live under the “sequester” or the supposed spending caps to bring the budget into balance. The Republican congress hasn’t lived up to its billing. Its amazing how every single member of the Republican conference can say during their campaign they support a balanced budget and lower spending, but they have not done it once. From every single one of them it has been nothing but talk with no results.
Before my Democrat friends mail me a change of registration card, you can save the stamp. That’s not happening. I just want the Republicans to stop talking, stop the posturing, stop with the junkets, and just do their job. Taxes Due Day shouldn’t come before Tax Freedom Day.