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e-News April 16, 2010

The Week Just Past
Buy Health Insurance or Lose your Tax Refund
Congress’ Tax Binge
Local Flood Recovery Centers Open
Census: Not too Late to be Counted

The Week Just Past: Tax Day!


“Taxpayers across the nation were hard at work this week finalizing the tax returns that were due yesterday, April 15, ‘Tax Day.’  Of course, it’s the highest profile date on the tax calendar and serves as an annual reminder of our obligations to fund the operations and programs of our federal, state and municipal governments.  

“The New York Times reported this week that 47-percent of all U.S. households will pay no federal income tax at all for 2009.   You can read the story here:

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2010/04/07/us/politics/AP-US-No-Taxes.html?_r=1

“The fact is that the top (as measured by income) 1% of all tax filers paid 36.3% of all federal income taxes paid to Uncle Sam.  The top 5% of filers paid 62% of all income taxes.   The top 10% of filers paid 76% of all federal income taxes!

“To round out the picture, the bottom 80% of filers paid less than 10% of all federal income taxes!

“I would note that not owing federal income tax is not the same as not paying any taxes at all. Workers will pay payroll taxes for the Social Security and Medicare programs, and various sales taxes, including the federal gasoline tax.”

Tax Freedom Day

“There’s another symbolically important date approaching for New Jersey taxpayers, albeit much more slowly. ‘Tax Freedom Day’ is the day that the Tax Foundation calculates that taxpayers can finally stop working to satisfy those government obligations.  The National ‘Tax Freedom Day’ arrived on April 9.  Not surprising to anyone who has ever paid taxes in our state, New Jersey’s ‘Tax Freedom Day’ does not get here until April 25, later than every other state in the nation except Connecticut!

“However, it is important to note that ‘Tax Freedom Day’ ignores our surging federal budget deficit.   If taxpayers were required to fund all the federal spending that the current Administration and Congressional leadership Washington have jammed though the House and Senate, ‘Tax Freedom Day’ would be arriving much, much later, probably as summer was winding to a close.

“In five years, federal spending has skyrocketed to 24.7% from 19.9% of our economy. That's the highest level since World War II. Borrowing has ballooned the national debt to $11.9 trillion from $7.3 trillion, a five-year increase equal to the accumulation of debt between President George Washington and President Bill Clinton.

“Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill once said that ‘Americans can always be trusted to do the right thing, once all other possibilities have been exhausted.’

“We've exhausted the possibilities. Now it's time to do the right thing.

“The American people know what’s necessary to get this economy moving again. It’s fiscal discipline in Washington, DC, and getting spending under control, getting government out of the way and America will come roaring back.

“Unfortunately, that’s not what’s happening in Washington.  All we hear is talk of more borrowing, more spending, more deficit, more takeovers. The fact that this Administration and the Congressional leadership is highlighting a $1.3 trillion deficit – the second largest in U.S. history - proves that this Administration and this Congress, just don‘t get it.”
                               Rodney

Buy Health Insurance or Lose your Tax Refund

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Doug Shulman recently suggested that the IRS would “reduce or confiscate” the tax refunds of those individuals who are uninsured under President Obama’s new health care law.   Thus, the IRS will be the nation’s new health care compliance agency!

Beginning in 2014, the penalty for individuals without “acceptable” health coverage starts at $95 and quickly escalates to $2,085. Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation estimates taxes will increase more than $400 billion over ten years to pay for the new health care law.

The IRS will reportedly add 16,500 new agents to enforce the health care mandates – adding to the difficulty, cost, and length of time it will take Americans to file their tax returns. 

Massachusetts is the only state in the nation to require its residents to prove they have health insurance when they file their taxes.  To view Massachusetts’ health insurance tax form, click here:
http://www.mass.gov/Ador/docs/dor/health%20care/HC.pdf

Is this a preview of what a new federal health insurance tax form will look like?

For these and many other reasons, Rodney has cosponsored H.R. 4903 which seeks to repeal President Obama’s new health care law. 

Recommended Reading: Suzanne Sataline and Shirley S. Wang in the Tuesday Wall Street Journal, “Medical Schools Can't Keep Up. As Ranks of Insured Expand, Nation Faces Shortage of 150,000 Doctors in 15 Years”:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304506904575180331528424238.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5

Congress’ Tax Binge

Since January 2009, the Congressional Majority has raised taxes by $679.3 billion, including $569 billion for President Obama’s new health care law.  But it doesn’t end there - more is in store!  The President’s Budget proposes to increase taxes by more than a trillion dollars, including:

$968 billion tax increase on upper-income families and small businesses which file as individuals;
 
$364 billion from expanding the top two income tax brackets and reinstating the 36 percent and 39.6 percent rates;

$105 billion from increasing the tax rate on capital gains and dividends from 15 percent to 20 percent;

$291 billion by limiting the itemized tax deduction to 28 percent of value;

$49 billion by reducing the “tax gap,” the difference between taxes owed and taxes paid;

$122 billion in higher taxes for U.S. companies with overseas subsidiaries;

$90 billion in tax increases imposed on financial institutions, referred to as a “financial crisis responsibility fee,” which will be passed onto consumers;

$59 billion in tax increases associated with the repeal of “last-in, first-out” inventory accounting practices, which assumes that an entity sells, uses or disposes of its newest inventory first; 

$40 billion in tax increases related to the repeal of tax credits for the production of natural gas, oil, and coal fuels;

$24 billion in increased taxes on “carried interest”, levied on investment partnerships, more than doubling the tax rate from 15 percent to 39.7 percent.

Recommended Reading II:  Friday’s editorial in the Wall Street Journal: “Too Big Not to Get Right.” The financial regulatory bill introduced by Senator Chris Dodd would make bailouts more likely:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703312504575141703012449686.html

Recommended Reading III:  “Not Yet Athens on the Potomac” in Monday’s New York Times.  Are we headed this way?:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/12/business/12views.html?scp=2&sq=athens%20on%20the%20potomac&st=cse


Noted with Interest: “Forty-seven world leaders are Barack Obama’s guests in Washington Tuesday at the nuclear security summit. Obama is holding bilateral meetings with just 12 of them. That’s led to some awkward exclusions -- and some unfortunate appearances, as well. One of those left out was Mikheil Saakashvili, president of Georgia, who got a phone call from Obama last week instead of a meeting in Washington. His exclusion must have prompted broad smiles in Moscow…”  Read the rest of Jackson Diehl’s story in the Tuesday Washington Post here:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2010/04/at_nuclear_summit_obama_snubs.html

At one point, the Republic of Georgia had the third-largest military presence — about 2,000 troops — fighting along with U.S. soldiers and Marines in Iraq.

Recommended Reading IV: Charles Krauthammer in Friday’s Washington Post: “Obama's nuclear strutting and fretting:”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/15/AR2010041504663.html

Recommended Reading V: Fred Hiatt writing in the Monday Washington Post, “Will the U.S. commit to free trade with South Korea?”:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/11/AR2010041102508.html

Local Flood Recovery Centers Open

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has opened local “Recovery Centers” to help residents and businesses affected by our March floods.

FEMA has also opened three Recovery centers in the 11th District:

  • Lincoln Park at the Police Athletic League building located at 10 Boonton Turnpike.
  • Somerville, at the Facilities and Services building located on the second floor of 80 East High Street.
  • Fairfield, at the Senior Citizen Center located at 376 Hollywood Avenue.

These centers will be open from 10 am to 6 pm Monday through Saturday.

Federal funding is available to affected individuals in Morris, Somerset, Essex, and Passaic counties.
 
Disaster officials with the New Jersey State Office of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge anyone who suffered losses to contact FEMA and register – even if they have insurance.
 
To register, call FEMA’s toll-free number, 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY/TDD 1-800-462-7585.  Residents may also register online anytime at www.disasterassistance.gov.

Census: Not too late to be Counted

Didn't get a 2010 Census form? It's not too late to be counted!! You can call the Census Bureau’s Questionnaire Assistance line at 1-866-872-6868 and give your answers over the phone or request a form be sent to where you live so you can mail it back in time. 

It costs the government just 42 cents to receive a questionnaire back in the mail, but cost taxpayers $57 if a Census taker has to go out to a house to collect the same information.  If every household mailed back their Census form, taxpayers could reduce the cost of the Census and save $1.5 billion.

Don't be left out of the count for your town and our state!

To visit the Census’s Bureau’s FAQ, click here:
https://ask.census2010.gov/cgi-bin/askcensus2010.cfg/php/enduser/std_alp.php

For a listing of the Census Bureau’s Telephone Assistance Numbers, click here:

http://2010.census.gov/2010census/contact/index.php