Archive for the ‘Taxes’ Category

Trump’s Tax Plan

Earlier this month at the Enrolled Actuaries meeting the first general session included gossip about what the new president’s plan for tax rates would be:

  • Individual tax rates at 12%, 25% and 33%
  • Corporate tax rates from 35% to 15% with the elimination of most corporate deductions

Earlier today a plan came out:

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NJ Gas Taxes to SEC and Pulaski Skyway

We now know where a large chunk of the money from the increase in the gas tax will be going.

An order was released by the Securities and Exchange Commission soon after Governor Chris Christie’s state of the State speech yesterday announcing that:
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Scumbag Politician Chronicles

Sundown (and a Friday) before a major Jewish holiday so what better time to stick it to New Jerseyans? Three months ago they floated this scheme and now it looks like a done deal.

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Christie Gaseous – NJ Taxpayers Nauseous

On July 1, 1990 the the New Jersey sales tax increased from 6 percent to 7 percent, and was expanded to include items such as soap, detergent, toilet paper and cigarettes. Immediately afterward and for the rest of his term, then Governor Jim Florio, was excoriated.

Governor Chris Christie yesterday justified raising the gas tax by 260% effective tomorrow in conjunction with lowering the sales tax at a later date (to 6.5% as of 1/1/17 and 6% as of 1/1/18) with more of his mindless bravado and dodgy numbers:
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Raise Taxes Quoth the Raver

The penultimate comment to this blog as of now reads:

I was searching for a link to my original article when I came across this. Sorry I missed it the first time.

I guess the author thinks it’s an “old bromide” to point out that the state has a legal obligation to pay employees what they agreed to pay them for work the employees have already done.

And it turns out I was right: the benefits are quite modest by any reasonable standard:

http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/14/12/18/new-study-contradicts-christie-s-claim-that-pension-payouts-are-excessive/

What’s really getting old is ignoring the realities of labor markets. If you want to attract a certain caliber of people to work in public service, you need to pay them. Conflating union dues and pension payments does nothing to address this.

BTW: if you didn’t like this post, wait until you see my next piece at NJ Spotlight…

Mark Weber

Mr. Weber’s njspotlight piece is out this morning and he is right.

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When Puppets Attack

Members of the Union County freeholder board are chosen for their obeisance to their financial benefactors who occasionally need a favor in exchange for their favors (i.e. the current Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Board are employees of the local college) but when political bosses have conflicting priorities this type of Kafkaesque scene plays out:

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Printing the Lies

“When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”
newspaper reporter in the move The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

“When the lies are from an officially sanctioned government source, print the lies”
newspaper protocol today

The Star Ledger rarely covers Union County freeholder meetings but last night reporter Tom Hayden was there to get a story on the adoption of the 2014 amended county budget which reduced the original tax levy by $3.7 million entirely due to a reduction of $1.5 million in capital improvements and a $2.2 million reduction in the pension contribution due to an underhanded gimmick imposed last month by Governor Christie for all pension contributions so he could retroactively reduce the pension contribution for the state budget, a move that was announced to localities on March 21, 2014.

Not being a regular the reporter for the largest newspaper in the state printed what was said (officially) as gospel including:

“The county also reduced the pension payment $2.2 million, the result of a round of layoffs that was done two years ago, county officials said.”

The reason the reporter who rarely covers these meetings printed that explanation is because that is what was said officially stated by the Union County Finance Director:
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Even though it was challenged immediately:
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That part you are unlikely to hear anywhere but here.

What else was reported were the tax hike numbers:

The freeholders trimmed county Manager Alfred Faella’s proposed $507.3 budget. The approved budget carries an average $62 tax increase for homeowners across the county, down from the $95 hike in Faella’s proposal.

However, the increase will vary widely from town to town, with Cranford residents seeing the lowest average tax hike of $4, and Westfield residents the highest hike, $254, according to county figures.

Those county figures came from a 2014 tax impact summary that was released right after this meeting ended comparing the tax rates for the years 2012, 2013, and 2014 so taxpayers could see the change the county wants them to see.  The total taxes in 2014 are listed as $327,061,905 as compared to $317,544,198 for 2013 for a difference of $9,517,707.  However when you total the last column of the county’s tax summary (which the county does not do for you) in a spreadsheet you make up using county numbers you get a total difference of $5,313,085 and notice that the 2012 and 2013 tax columns are overstated by about 1.3% for each municipality.  A possible explanation from the UCWA budget presentation in 2012:
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When you use the actual 2012 and 2013 budgeted taxes for comparison in a corrected spreadsheet you then see the 3% difference but that’s unlikely to be the numbers mainstream media outlets would be reporting as they spread the lies they are being fed.