Although I reside in one of the most overtaxed and inarguably free-spending states in the union, I did not attend any of the many "Tea Parties" held last month, fittingly, on April 15. Though I was sorely tempted because - for those not familiar with the fiscal drumbeat of New York - tax hikes are as predictable as a Mets' late-season collapse or delays in the 80-year odyssey better known as the Second Avenue Subway.
I have basically given up on the Empire State; it's a bankrupt and broken hulk littered with ineffectual bureaucrats. But I can't blame everything on Albany, because I do choose to live here.
My absence from the festivities notwithstanding, a number of tax protests took place across the country in what were billed as "Tea Parties," a paean no doubt to the more famous event staged some 236 years ago in Boston Harbor.
The target of their wrath was not the Stamp Tax, but rather the out-of-control spending in Washington, no doubt a collective angst over the economy, the recent $787 billion stimulus bill, and multiple bailouts of banks and automakers.
Reportedly, attendance at Tea Party venues across the country was healthy, and some potential GOP contenders in 2012 even used the occasion to begin stumping into the voter's collective consciousness.
One protestor held a sign with a message near and dear to my heart that read, "Honk If I'm Paying Your Mortgage."
Many of them also relayed less-then-flattering messages and feelings toward President Obama's tax policies - particularly those who will be directly affected by said policies. For example, those folks earning over $250,000 per year.
Proponents are usually quick to highlight the president's promise to cut taxes for those under that level, but does it really constitute a cut, or is it Obama-speak for not allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire at that level?
After making his own tax filings available (which showed that he and the First Lady earned roughly $2.7 million) the president went on to trumpet a number of tax measures that his administration has taken, among them the Making Work Pay tax cut, allowing small businesses to offset their losses against their income over the last five years, a $2,500 tax credit for all four years of college, and an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers.
The nation's chief executive also reiterated his intention to end tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and he pledged a long-term goal to simplify the Tax Code and subsequent filing process. Toward that end, he resurrected a form of his predecessor's tax reform task force, which has been charged with submitting its recommendations by Dec. 4, 2009, to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
As I wrote in this space last month, intended reform is light years from actual reform, but if the turnout at last month's Tea Parties is any indication, there needs to be real tax reform during this administration, not Capitol Hill's version of the Second Avenue Subway.
(c) 2009 Accounting Today and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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