Monday, March 16, 2015

Death and Taxes....Not Necessarily in That Order

Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
                                                    Benjamin Franklin
The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets. 
                                                                 Will Rogers
Well, Spartacus has filed her taxes. They are submitted and that's the end of that. 

That is not that, however, for FIL. FIL may be dead, but there are still taxes to file and as it turns out, it's not as easy as I would like it to be. According to his tax lady, the indefatigable Clarice, I need some kind of super official probate document. My legal-eagle explained the probate stuff, so getting all the dead ducks in a row will take a bit longer than I want it to. If we have to sign one more set of "yeah, he's really dead" documents, I'm gonna scream. And through it all, I can hear my father-in-law's distinctive grumble from the other side. 

Meanwhile, I got this giant postcard from Dakota County telling me I have to reapply for Homestead Tax status. Excuse me? I've been homesteading this domicile without interruption since 1989, so what is this about? I went to the website, found the "ask us a question" box and asked why I had to reapply. Well, turns out when I paid off the mortgage, I had to remove Ziggy's name from the deed. As if that wasn't painful enough, now I have to reapply to be the sole homesteader here. It's not a big deal, but getting the form to go electronically became a bigger chore than it should've been. I kept filling it out, and the nice lady who was e-helping, kept emailing that it was blank when she got it. Went to plan B; that didn't work. Went to plan C...scanning, PDF'ing, and attaching. That didn't work, either. I ended up faxing it from a real fax machine. She got it.  My 2014 Homestead Tax Refund application, however, has to go via snail mail. Probably safer. 

Speaking of death and taxes, I have to hand it to Governor Dayton. He gets the 2015 I Told You So award for pre-planning. Seems L'Etoile du Nord has a surplus. Not just a little surplus, but a big honking surplus: $1.87 BILLION dollars. And if that's not enough, job growth is substantial, unemployment is down, median income is up, and he gets good marks from the populace on confidence in the state's ability to thrive. Our neighbors to the east, however, seem to be dying a slow and painful death, lending further credibility to Governor Dayton's version of good governance. 

Yeah, our taxes are high, but roads and bridges are getting repaired. Education is seeing greater re-investment. You know, public stuff that needs to get done is getting done. No, it's not perfect, but it's better than most. 

But that's not good enough for our Republican led legislature. Nope. They want to subscribe to the Scott Walker School of Bad State Finance and return ALL the money to taxpayers. Now, I don't know about all you housewives and mothers out there, but my mother always taught me to save for a rainy day. If I got a few bucks ahead, they went in the savings account. I tried to teach the kids the same thing. And that money came in handy when something wasn't in the a new dishwasher or an extra school trip to England. Little things like that.

States are no different. We have bad weather years when the plows are out more than the budget anticipated. Just look at the snowfall in Massachusetts. This year, we had little snow, but that doesn't mean we're not gonna have a bumper crop of tornados or floods. There's always a shortfall someplace and having a little jack in the bank is not the worst idea on the planet. 

But the GOP doesn't see saving as a virtue; they see it as over-taxing. Bzzzzzzz. Wrong answer. Do not spend it on narishkeit. Do not send it all back. Besides, sending it back costs even more money so the whole process becomes aroysgevorfene gelt thrown out the window. 

Underpaying, undercharging, and under-collecting taxes has a disastrous impact on the economy...far worse than having a surplus. I cannot believe the GOP leadership is so stupidly short-sighted to think banking the lion's share of this capital isn't a smart idea. These are the same guys complaining we can't pay for everything we what? cut more taxes? Yet, in the GOP's most recent state budget proposal, there were negligible cuts to spending, but significant cuts for upper level taxpayers. The middle and lower classes got little relief on their tax bill. Of course, no one expects this proposal to go anywhere.

Face it, Minnesota, you already have my cash in your pocket. Send back the calculated refund so I can pay my property taxes.... which, while I think they're exorbitant, I know they are not....and don't toss in any extra surplus money,. You want to adjust my tax rate by a percentage point, go for it. But use the bonus We, the People of Minnesota, gave you, wisely. Fund some struggling school districts. Add some trails to a state park. Hand out a few grants for urban gardening projects and bear habitats. Fund some local art projects. Use the money to involve Minnesotans in the kinds of things Minnesotans, theatre, arboretum development. Maybe even a little underwriting  for repainting the Ag building at the State Fair. You know what I mean. Nothing big, nothing flashy....just a few nice things for the state, and then save the money for that inevitable snowfall shortfall that will happen down the road just like it always does. 

Hey! I'm trying to be a good citizen here. Now it's your turn, legislature. Just for once, do what's right for the state....not what's right for the Koch Brothers. 

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
If you're getting a refund you didn't expect, either toss it in the bank....
or use it to do something that really needs doing. 
After all, if you had that money in the first go 'round, that's what you would've done. Right?


  1. Good post that falls on deaf GOP ears. They are convinced that Ayn Rand knows best and that we will all prosper when an unencumbered free market reigns (besides, poor people, Black people, Muslims, gay people and the 47% who don't pay taxes aren't really red-bloodied Christian Americans anyway).

  2. What the 0.01% doesn't realize is at the end of this race to the bottom, when we are ALL penniless Indonesians, there will be no one to buy the goods and services produced by the companies that have paid them such princely sums to run them. There's only so much to be had, and when they have it all, what then?