Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm beginning to understand "Tax Reform"

Vacation week continues, although we haven’t done anything away from the house. There had been some plans for day trips, but so far all we’ve done is prepare a truckload of rubbish for our neighbor to cart away for us later this week. Gator Wife, who’s really the one on vacation as she has the week off from her part time job, thought this would be a good opportunity for us to dump many years of accumulation we no longer need nor use. Much of it has been broken for years.

I’m not sure I agree that this is the best way to spend a vacation week. But on we go.

I’m still holding out some hope that later after the “junk” is gone we will have some time for at least one day away from the homestead. Isn’t “vacate” part of vacation? Or perhaps “recreate” as part of recreation? I think I’m in the minority of one in a group of two.

There were a couple of stories in yesterday’s new Portland Press Herald. Actually, I read them on their website. Since the paper was sold, it seems to be heading in a really positive direction of digging for news facts and stories rather just simply taking the handouts and reporting them as facts. This is a good direction for the paper and one that no doubt will lead them back to being a successful government watchdog.

But I digress. Getting back to the stories, actually one was a letter to the editor, that I found fascinating yesterday. The story began to bring the new “tax reform” in a focus that makes that change by Maine government understandable. It was a story written by their staff writer Beth Quimby concerning car repairs from a report written by the Maine Development Foundation. I’m not sure if that story is still available, but it was here yesterday.

Funding road repair was not discussed by either Ms. Quimby or the report, but as you know, Maine has been charging an ever increasing gas tax for several years, but it seems most of that tax revenue goes into the general fund rather than being dedicated to road repair. Maine also has given bonds for money for road repair and has received a lot of federal stimulus money.

The State still pleads poverty for funds for road repair as the roads continue to disintegrate. I asked recently just where that money had gone. Apparently it hasn’t gone to fixing the state’s roads and bridges.

Now to tie the so-called tax reform and road repair together. The report estimates the poor condition of Maine’s roads leads to an average of more than $280 for car repairs for all Maine motorists. I think the legislators must have known of that before they passed the increased items for sales tax. Among the new things to be taxed are auto repairs.

Wow! A new revenue stream. Now I understand why many of the new items were added to the sales tax. That’s at least about $15 dollars in new taxes for every motorist. That average cost, of course, includes the cost of repair and all motorists. Not all will need to have repairs. I’m one of those as I generally don’t drive enough to get into road hazards. But many motorists will have much higher costs, thus much higher taxes to pay.

Add all that new money to all the other sales tax additions and the State has a pretty good windfall.

The other item was a letter to the editor that reminded me of something I mentioned several weeks ago. The writer criticized Maine’s congress people for voting in favor of the various huge spending packages without ever having read the law. I suspect they still haven’t read those laws and are only relying on what they’ve been told by Congressional leadership on what to say. I wonder if they did read and understand what they were approving if they still would have approved them.

That’s no difference than what happens in Maine’s Legislature. I’ve told you one of that group of retirees that meet each month for lunch is also a legicritter. He told me that the state’s new budget and tax reform laws were both presented to legislators just an hour before they had to vote. Like those in Washington the locals also had no time to read, review, or revise the leadership law.

In both cases, that leadership consists of Democrats.


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