April 15th, the day and deadline we love to hate. As many of us painfully went through the grueling process of either filing ourselves, or collecting every folder and receipt to give to our accountants, not one of us, I am certain, did so gleefully. No, rather, the effort was more of an "ugh"! Some of us own our own businesses, or non-profit corporations adding to the labor.
Then the day when the task of putting our 'John Henry' on the bottom line arrives, there may be a sigh of relief that no more taxes are due, or perhaps a short-lived excitement that we may get some money back. But for some there is the added step of signing a check to pay even more taxes due. No matter which it is, the bottom line? ... We are paying too much in taxes. The average total is now 40%+ of our earnings, when you include sales tax, property tax, et al.
With all the talk about Tom DeLay paying family members for campaign work still in the headlines, the Tax Foundation reported that the average taxpayer will have to work two days longer this year than last year to reach "Tax Freedom Day". April 17th marks the end of 70 days Americans will work to pay for federal taxes and 37 more days for state and local taxes. That's 107 days, almost one-third of the year working to pay for taxes! Let's hear it, all in unison...UGHHHHH!
Even with all the tax cuts that the Bush administration has passed, Americans will still spend more on taxes than on food, clothing and medical care combined.
As reported in the Sacramento Bee on April 15th, President Bush reported adjusted gross income of $784,219 for 2004, of which $400,000 was from his presidential salary and the balance from trusts that hold his and the First Lady's assets. They paid $207,307 in federal taxes, and gave $77,785 of their income to churches and charitable organizations, which is about 10%. Their contributions went to Evergreen Chapel at Camp David, Md., St. John's Church in Washington, the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army World Service Office, AmeriCares, an international relief organization, and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. They also had $22,158 in state property taxes for their ranch in Crawford, Texas.
President Bush spoke on Tax Day promoting the need to have the tax cuts passed during his administration made permanent. And if Congress allows these tax cuts to expire, he said, "your taxes are going to go up." He also spoke about how tax relief helps small businesses, and the need to simplify the tax code, which eight out of ten Americans favor.
April 17th, 107 days, 3-1/2 months working for taxes. Is it really Tax Freedom Day? Should I even get into all the 'pork' our tax dollars are spent on? No, not today. We need a little relief...a little comfort. Speaking of which I think I'm going to go make a cup of hot chocolate. Oh no, out of soy milk. Where's my candy bar?