Was Tax Day good for you? Probably not.

Was it good for you? Tax Day I mean. Did you get money back?  Was it the same as last year? I am guessing…NOT.

My own taxes and subsequent return, left me somewhere between shock and trauma. I used to depend on my returned taxes to pay my ensuing property taxes. It was a fair deal. I earned returned dollars on my taxes (based on interest paid to banks) and gave those dollars back to the government in another tax (property taxes), in order to reside in a property without harassment from landlords. It worked fairly well until recently.

tax-dayA myriad of reasons contributed, including less interest paid to banks based on a nearly paid off mortgage, and less income, attributed to Contra Costa’s nearly 3% wage decrease to employees, endured for the past 3 years. Couple that with a cost of living increase of nearly 10% during the past 8 years, that went unanswered in wages, and this year becomes a serious face to face with the economy and my viability to be a part of it.

Tonight the news claims food has quadrupled in 3 months! But when wages are not only stagnant for eight years but have gone DOWN, being employed by Contra Costa County is no longer a job of integrity, or an example of value and honor.

Contra Costa County is currently in negotiations with my bargaining unit but have yet to even make the same (unacceptably low offer) that they have made to other units. Those other units are largely paid higher wages and often receive better benefits than we do, so they have been better able to sustain the wage losses better than we have.

But my unit pays the same prices for health care, housing, utilities, food and gas. I’ve got to wonder. Is there a market for keeping or even MAKING people poor?  One might think so if your job is to deliver services to the poor. More federal grants maybe? One of our Board of Supervisors actually sought to encourage our employees to apply for government provided Affordable Health Care, while reducing their participation in employees’ continued coverage.

More political clout for politicians is found in the sometimes popular “union busting” tactics, instead of paying fair wages so people can participate in a healthy economy with pride. And that is possibly happening within our own small group of County Board of Supervisors, despite the pledges to “end poverty” in Contra Costa County. A quick conversation with any of them indicates who are not so concerned with changing the face of poverty, while others possibly are. Maybe.

But all politics are not local. The search for money to pay for services doesn’t end locally. The State looks for more funding to do what it has to do, while taxes are being funneled from county to the State, and no where are  corporate welfare and loopholes to the richest businesses in the world like oil, are not being touched. Are we being taxed fairly at all?

warren-buffetThe top 1% (the richest Americans) are paying a lower tax rate than you or I. Some don’t pay any Federal income tax at all. Deductions for the wealthiest Americans include large interest payments on large properties, cost of business entertainments that are deductible, and the loopholes do go on and on. Twitter received $56 million in tax breaks last year for doing business in San Francisco, but they are far from alone.  The question is, are these tax breaks and loopholes still relevant in a world where such a huge number of average working families are suffering?

There are new and continuing pushes to further reduce taxes for the richest 1% of America, even while Warren Buffet pays 17.4% of his income and his secretary pays 35.8%.  Now that those who once considered themselves middle class are no longer participating in the local economies, buying products, able to take adequate care of their families, or keep their homes and health… surely some of that 275% growth for the top 1% in the past 30 years might indicate some relief is due to those on the bottom rungs.

A fair system would allow for everybody to grow. Call your legislator!

unkown-avatar~ Evan Travis is a long time employee of Contra Costa County.

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Comments

  1. Chuck says

    Taxes for me this year went up about $ 2,300 yet my income remained the same. So much for promises from those running for office. A flat tax would be a great thing but look how many government jobs would be obsolete. The tax game is big money for the rich and famous. It also does promote economic spending. The rich and the politicians will never allow a flat tax. The government of the US is too far gone for conservatives to get it back to what our founders envisioned. America as we knew it and as the founders envisioned it is gone.

    • Eva Travis says

      I feel your pain! But the fight continues. There is a new push to tax the top millionaires (Koch Brothers, et al… more) and push back against the CONTINUED TAX CUTS like in the Paul Ryan budget. In Virginia, a news site reported:

      “One would expect that most demonstrations outside IRS headquarters in D.C. involve calls for lower taxes. This afternoon, however, congressional candidate Del. Patrick Hope (D) held a press conference outside the IRS to call for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans.” He presented over 33,000 signatures in support of a fair tax realignment!
      On MSNBC, PCCC co-founder Adam Green announced:
      “This week as Paul Ryan is talking about lowering taxes on millionaires, and cutting corporate tax rates, and cutting programs that would benefit jobs and education, we have progressive candidates across the country who are actively saying let’s have millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share so that we can fund massive jobs and education programs.”
      News like this continued in the Washington Post, the LA Times, and local papers from Maine to Wisconsin. Keep the vision alive! And thanks for your voice!

  2. Virginia Fuller says

    You are welcome Eva.
    Please share this link with your email contacts and listen in next Wednesday evening, when I will be interviewed on that radio station and we will discuss among other things, Fair Tax.

  3. Richard Colman says

    To bring back prosperity, let do this:
    (1) put a ceiling on government spending and taxation.
    (2) go to a flat-rate tax of 10% (no exemptions and no deductions).
    (3) eliminate the corporate income tax.

    • Eva Travis says

      I like the flat tax idea, very much. But I do not believe eliminating corporate taxes is the way to go. Corporations share in services including protections by our Federal government of their oversees operations. Especially at a time when corporations have infiltrated politics to such a high degree and have secured their status as “people” with Citizens United, it is too late for them to shirk equal responsibility for paying their own freight, while enjoying profits that have grown up to 300%. or more in recent years It is time for those corporations to pay their fair share, to help lift the burden off the average working family who has NOT reaped rewards from the shifting and sinking economy, and the politics that have allowed corporations (and their leaders and owners) to attack the fundamental core of good paying jobs with benefits that sustain families.
      .

  4. says

    No, April 15th., the dreaded Tax Day, was not good for me, and I reckon, that the weeks leading up the Tax Day was no fun for most of hard working American taxpayers.
    How many million hours do Americans spend on preparing their taxes?
    Sorry!
    Make that number in the Billions. More then 6 Billion hours, annually.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/janetnovack/2011/01/05/tax-waste-6-1-billion-hours-spent-complying-with-federal-tax-code/

    We have been so conditioned to be obedient slaves, and we simply put up with this.
    I am very much in favor of a Fair Tax system.
    The benefits are immense!
    For starters, we would instantly be awarded weeks of extra vacation days as the Fair Tax, would only require a one (1) page submission.
    Secondly, it would scale back on the need for an all powerful, bloated and corrupt IRS to a skeleton office.
    Just imagine, how many billions of taxpayer’s dollars would be saved to pay off our national debt.
    Thirdly, everyone would get to pay their fair share.
    the benefits are numerous …. .. Check out:
    http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer