Monday, August 11, 2008

Our lower? tax burden!

I’m not sure it was true everywhere in Maine, but we here on the South Side of Route 1 had a mostly sunny weekend. It rained not at all either day at my home, but the overnight fog Saturday night into Sunday left my yard rather wet. I was fortunate that I got the mowing accomplished Saturday afternoon. Our daughter was here for most of Sunday and she was able, finally, to fulfill a Father’s Day present: she washed and waxed my car. Then she went on to do her mother’s and her cars.

We watched some black clouds pass overhead a couple of times and we all felt rain was imminent; but just as fast as they came, the clouds dissipated and we remained in sunshine. I was awakened overnight by some very distant thunder. I saw on the television that some shower activity did pass through parts of Southern Maine, but not at my house. I guess we might get some rain before this day is over.

People connected with Maine government were giddy over the weekend as last Friday the Tax Foundation announced that a new way to calculate the tax burden and the new system dropped Maine from first or second in the country to 15th. This, of course, will give our Democrat legislators a good reason now to raise taxes.

Because I wanted to share in the windfall, I did some rough calculations on my own tax burden. Last Thursday, my ratio of taxes to my retirement income was about 14.2 percent for state and local taxes. Surprisingly to me, that was just about where the Tax Foundation had put it. So yesterday, since the group had changed its methodology and lowered our burden, I recalculated. Guess what? My tax burden was now just about 14.2 percent.

I feel so much better with the new calculations. Of course the Tax Foundation’s credibility has fallen just a bit in my estimation. I’ll bet that has them chewing the Pepcid.

Oh! Yes! I should also point out that our tax burden is about to rise just a little. Beginning Sept. 1 the cost of your license plates will go up 40% to $35. If you happen to be one of the 100-thousand Mainers with a vanity plate, you’ll pay an additional 67% or $25. That’s an additional $10 for each. If you buy a car, title fees will also increase by $10. The state says the increase is needed to pay for road and bridge repair. Haven’t we passed bonds a couple of times in the last two years for those repairs? Where’s that money?

Our thoughtful state is allowing anyone who needs to renew in September tp do so in August this year to avoid the increase this year.

I wouldn’t want to drive a car with all the safety equipment that NASCAR cars have, but they sure are impressive in a crash. In yesterday’s road course crash involving several cars with just a few laps remaining, one of the cars was unbelievably punished. It was hit several times, spun violently, and bounced off the wall a couple of times. There wasn’t much left of it when it was over. Actually several cars were heavily damaged in the crash. But in spite of all that carnage, no one was seriously hurt. Several were taken to a care center but then treated and released. I’d hate to think what my body would look like if my old Toyota had gone through all that at race car speeds. I’m impressed with those race car designs.

And a final note for this Monday: The Red Sox are in desperate need for some pitching.


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