Tag Archives: taxes

March is Here

March is Here

March is here and it’s a nice day outside.  The weather reports warn tomorrow won’t be so nice, so I’m enjoying it today.

We went to a late lunch/early dinner with our friends Ron and Mary Harris.  Elizabethe had a coupon for a free meal, so that governed our choice.  It wasn’t bad.  They had prime rib!

We stopped at the Indian store after dinner.  Elizabethe noticed she didn’t have her purse (credit cards, phone, ID, etc.)  Back we went.  Thanks to the alert people at Golden Corral, the purse was recovered with everything in tact.

Good and the Bad

That’s the good.  The bad is I noticed a charge on my business credit card for about $200.  So, I had to cancel my card.  It’s ironic.  The charge occurred immediately after I purchased an update to my WinZip software.

More Good

I wanted to stop at Best Buy on our way home.  I saw a very nice hp 32q monitor.  It was on sale.  Elizabethe came in the store to use the bathroom, and when she saw me looking at it, she said, “THAT’S WHAT YOU CAN GET ME FOR MY BIRTHDAY.”

I’m jealous.  It’s a very nice, better than 4K, monitor.  Easy on the eyes and BIG.

I took her old monitor, a 27″ 720p, and put it on my office computer.  It looks like crap next to my LaCie monitor. (But, then, most monitors do.)  I’m getting a new monitor.  That’s all there is to it.

PCs

I then got looking at PCs.  Hmmm… 6 cores, 16 threads, 16GB, … well, if it had 32GB, I probably would have bought it.

Hill Cumorah Pageant 2018

Can you believe it will be Hill Cumorah Pageant time soon.  We already have people inquiring, however, with fewer rooms to rent, we’re limited to small groups (couples and individuals mostly.)

 

Things We Do

Things We Do

The things we do for our children.  I got an e-mail from a parent whose daughter found information about Route 66.  The mom asked if I would share the link on my Route 66 site and mention her daughter.

I can’t resist an opportunity like that.  I wrote about traveling with children, and mentioned the girl, Nicole, in the blog.  The mom wrote back immediately and thanked me for mentioning her daughter and giving her credit for finding and sharing the information.

Moved

I updated a client’s head shot.  It had been a year or so since his last one.  He informed me he now lives in Tennessee.  (That’s a LONG drive for a head shot!).

He explained how he lost equity in his property because of taxes.  He paid more in taxes than his property appreciated.  It makes perfect sense.  It’s pure Samuelson Economics.

Picture an upside down U on a graph.  The X (horizontal) axis is how much taxes are paid.  The Y (vertical)  is how much benefit is received.  It starts at (0,0).  At the cross of the axis nobody pays and because there is no money, there are no benefits.

As taxes go up, so do the benefits… to a certain point.  At that certain point the benefits begin to decrease.  Case in point:  If taxes are high, property values stagnate or decrease.  (And, such is the case in Western New York.)

New York is in desperate need of tax reforms.  Abandoned properties do not generate taxes.  Consequently, I’d like to see those figures.  I would like to know if the people who abandoned them could have kept them had their taxes been significantly lower.

Craziness

There’s a lot of craziness in the world.  I read how President Trump reversed Obama’s order for transgendered bathrooms.  Good for him.  The Obama order only made parents uncomfortable for what that could mean for their children.

Of course, for any business, the simple answer is individual private bathrooms with locks on the doors.  But, that is also a huge expense for businesses to convert.

The absurdity of transgenderism can be compared to senior citizen discounts at restaurants.  If a man can declare he’s a woman, then a 30 year old should be able to declare they are 65 and receive a senior citizen discount.  Neither is true, but we have people in society thinking it should be the case with gender.

Remember when the Levites had to prove their genealogy?   Will we get to a point where DNA tests are require to prove won’s claim of gender?  I hope not, but we live in a very sick world.

Getting Warmer

Getting Warmer

It’s getting warmer around here.  Today almost hit 60 here, and tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer.

Today was one of those days that was full of appointments.  At least I got my 2015 books DONE.  I thought they were done before, but I had missed something and had to go back and add stuff.  It would sure be a lot easier if all we had to deal with was a single sales tax.  I’m tired of dealing with income tax, sales tax, property tax, school tax, etc.  Sales and use taxes make the most sense to me.


We bought some big portobello mushrooms and I cooked them to use them like a burger patty.  It worked well, but they were slippery and wanted to slide out of the bun when you’d go to take a bite.  I ended up eating mine open-face.

I think tomorrow I’ll stuff them and bake them.  The sandwich thing didn’t work well.  This 4″ diameter mushroom tops are a meal to themselves.


 

The temple re-opened after the cleaning closure.  It was nice to go back.  They’ve updated most of the technology.  With the warm weather, I would have hoped more people would have attended tonight.

Speaking of warm weather, I didn’t even wear a jacket to the temple.  When we got out, it was still warm.  Tomorrow is going to be a warm day.

Tomorrow Plans

Tomorrow Plans

I’m making some tomorrow plans.  I think tomorrow I will go to the Car Show in Rochester.  I’ve never been to this type of a car show and I need some Tomorrow Plans.  I’ll contact one of my friends and see if they want to go to.

I discovered I missed an entire credit card when doing my taxes.  Wow, am I sure glad I didn’t send it off with that goof up.  Even stranger, it is the card I use the most.

After one of my appointments I swung over the Lowe’s to have them cut me some wood.  Since they give me 2 cuts I can fit the wood in my car and have it cut to manageable sizes.  It almost feels like cheating, but the thing I hate most about woodworking projects is… yes, you’ve guessed it… cutting wood.

It seems odd to mention cutting and taxes in the same blog when they have nothing to do with each other in this context.  Oh,well.

I watched Mitt Romney’s talk at USU today.  It wasn’t what I expected, but I applaud the man.  Mitt’s a sharp guy.  I’m glad he has the courage to stand up to Donald Trump.

Get this…

Some moron ranted about how Mitt Romney is “filthy rich”.  In the same breath, he talked about how he’s voting for Donald Trump in light of what Mitt said.   Hmmm… Let’s see… Mitt’s worth 250 million and Trump is worth 10 billion.  I wonder if this guy knows that 10 billion is more than 250 million.  Nah… don’t tell him.  He deserves to be short-changed the next time he buys beer.


I found someone to go to the car show with me tomorrow.  It should be fun.

 

Free Education

Free Education

An essay on free education:

Joe’s 18 year old son is excited about free education.  Jeff, a senior in high school, has his own job, and has been saving for college, but Joe (Jeff’s dad), just got laid off from his job.  So, Jeff’s worried about affording tuition.

“Dad,” Jeff exclaimed, “This will be the first presidential election I will be able to vote in.”

“Oh,” dad asked, “have you decided who will get your vote?”

“Of course, Bernie Sanders!  He’s promising affordable tuition and says a college education should be free,” Jeff replied.

“How about we go grab some ice cream,” Joe said to his son, and they headed out the door to the car.

On the drive to the ice cream parlor, Jeff and his dad talked about the car needing new tires, dad’s being tired of sending out resumes and the cute girl Jeff saw at school.  Soon, they arrived at the mall, parked the car, and made their way to the ice cream parlor.

“May I take your order?” asked the waitress soon after the sat their menus down.

“I’ll have the double-banana split,” Jeff said with a look of defiance prepared to take on the gigantic sundae.

Joe shook his head, “No”, as if to say, “Nothing for me.”

“Dad?  You aren’t eating?” Jeff said with surprise in his voice.

“Nope, you’re on your own.  You have a job.  You can pay for your own sundae and I’ll just sit here,” said Joe in a disappointing voice.

Soon, Jeff’s sundae arrived and before he could take his first bite, Joe reached over and scooped a huge spoonful Jeff’s sundae.  Another spoonful went from Joe’s lips to the ice cream and back, and another, soon another and before long, Joe had consumed most of Jeff’s sundae.

“Hey, dad!  I thought you said you weren’t having any,”  Jeff grumbled.

“Well, I changed my mind since it’s free,” Joe smiled.

“What?  It’s not free, you said I am picking up the tab because you’re not eating,”  Jeff protested.

“I didn’t say I wasn’t eating, but you’re the one with all of the money, so it is only right that you pay,” Joe explained to his son.

“But, that’s not fair,” said Jeff still in protest.

“Why not?  I’m out of work, I don’t have a job, and you have more than enough ice cream there to feed me too,” Joe firmly stated.

“I’m still hungry, and I don’t make THAT much money, so are you going to buy me another sundae?” Jeff whined.

“No, son.  I’m giving you a free education,”  Joe said with a wink.

Sitting quietly, ponder what had just happened, Jeff looked at his dad and said, “I think I see what you’re trying to do.”

“You do, son?  Explain it to me,” Joe requested of Jeff.

“I have money, you don’t, but you got to enjoy my ice cream at my expense,”  Jeff said.

Joe responded, “In part, yes, but there is more to it than that.

“You see, that so-called free education will be paid for by someone.  In this case, Bernie Sanders is proposing a tax on the gains from the sale of stocks and bonds. ”

Interrupting, Jeff inserted, “Yes, but only rich people can afford to play the stock market.”

Explaining to Jeff, Joe said, “That’s not so.   Many people profit from the stock market without even knowing it.  For example, that job I was just laid off from had a 401K plan.  That’s a voluntary retirement plan that I have been paying money in to it so you don’t have to take care of mom and me when we get old.  That 401K can make or lose money.  Given how the market has been the last 8 years, it has been really hard for it to make money.  If Bernie Sander’s plan goes in to effect, it will even be harder for it to make money.”

“How so, Dad?”  Jeff’s interest was peaked.

“Let’s say my 401K is making about 5% interest a year.  That’s not a lot, but if that interest gets taxed, it is making even less than 5%, and if every change has a fee, I might not make anything on my 401K.  In fact, my 401K manager says I might even lose money,” Joe said with a furrowed brow.

“Why would you pay in to it then?” Jeff asked, and added, “Sounds like you’d be better off without a 401K.”

“It may come to that if Sanders’ plan goes through,” Joe added, “and let’s hope it doesn’t.

“But there’s more to it than just 401Ks.  Corporate retirement plans rely on that money too.  A lot of companies no longer offer pensions, and if this plan goes through, fewer will.  In addition to 401Ks, retirement plans, there are also IRAs, and Certificates of Deposit.  All of these draw upon the performance of stocks and bonds, and to tax stocks and bonds is to reduce the amount people make from these safer investment options,” Joe concluded.

“How does that effect me, Dad?  I’m not anywhere close to retiring,”   Jeff asks.

“Well, someday you’ll be 60, 65, 70 years old and you’ll be tired of working and your body will need a break.  You’ll want to enjoy your retirement,” Joe explains when Jeff interrupts.

“Yeah, like playing golf every day,” Jeff smiles.

“Yeah, like playing golf every day… if you can afford it,” Joe continues, “Besides taxing the gains on stocks and bonds, I can guarantee you there will be other taxes to pay the large debt.  Currently, there are hidden taxes you don’t see on your pay stub.  You may only have 20% being withheld right now, but mom and I pay property taxes, there are excise taxes on the tires on your car, gasoline, and more.  And, when something is paid for with tax dollars, it is like a loan.  It’s a loan that you, the taxpayer must repay.  You will repay it through higher costs of food, clothing and other necessities, even though you don’t see the “tax”.  Some corporation is paying that tax.”

“Wow, Dad, that sounds serious,” Jeff says with concern.

“It is serious son, and that is why I want you to take voting seriously,”  Joe says with a look of pride in his son.

“Of course,” Jeff says with awry grin on his face, “you wouldn’t know if I voted for Bernie or not.”

“Son, it’s your future.  It is you who will have to live with the decisions you make comes November.  I probably won’t be alive while you’re still paying of Bernie’s debt, and it is you and your children and grandchildren who will pay,” Joe began to explain, “My parents were among the most prosperous generation, and it is unfortunate that the New Deal debts are now wreaking havoc on this nation.”

“I heard about that in my U.S. Civic’s class,” Jeff said, “but I’m not exactly sure what you mean.”

“Because of the New Deal we have the Federal welfare program,” Joe explains. “It sounded great in the late 1930s, but today, much of our tax dollars goes to support people who can work, but won’t work.”

“Oh, you mean like the…,” Jeff starts to say.

Joe cutting him off, “Yes, I think I know who you’re going to mention, but let’s not gossip about them.”

“But, dad, he’s on welfare and comes into the restaurant and order prime rib all of the time,” Jeff says raising his voice a tad, and continues, “and here you and mom are, working your butts off and you can’t afford to eat out that often.”

“Son, I think you’re starting to see the dilemma of what happens when the government provides free stuff,”  Joe says point-blank.

“Okay, Dad.  You’ve made your point,” Jeff says, but not in a defeated tone, “I’m going to order another sundae, but this time, I’m ordering it to-go, and I’m taking it home and eating it in my bedroom and you’re not getting any!”

Having taught his son to be giving and caring, Joe decided to let this one ride.  His son learned a valuable lesson, and for that, he deserves to keep what he earned.

 

Lame Arguments

Lame Arguments

I will admit that I sometimes get sucked in to arguments (or debates – they are the same).  So, I want to share some lame arguments I’ve heard in the past.  I hope you find them funny.  (Some are esoteric to Mormons, so if you’re not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you might not get them, but I’d be happy to explain.)

  • After showing someone where one of the latter-day prophets had said something, the other person responded to the effect, “That was before my lifetime.  None of them have said it since.”  I wanted to respond, “The first vision was before my lifetime, but I still believe it.”  I just walked away.
  • A friend couldn’t take his wife’s abuse and eventually asked for a divorce.  When he did, she said, “Well, what about where it says in the Bible, ‘Until death do you part?'”
  • Speaking of the bible, a friend posted a meme about life’s sanctity and abortion.  Someone posted a response trying to convince him that the bible says life doesn’t start until you start breathing.
  • A guy stopped me on my birthday.  He asked, “What’s today?”  I told him, “Wednesday.”  He said, “No, what is the date?”  I told him the date and then he said, “Uh-uh.  It is not.”  He then bet me $20 that the next person would give a different date (he wasn’t sure what the date was, but he knew it wasn’t the date I gave him.)    So, the next person walks up, he stops them and asks them.  They agreed with me.  He pulled out his wallet and gave me a $20.  I gave it back.  When he asked why I wouldn’t take it I told him I don’t gamble, nor do I take money from stupid people.  (Okay, I was 16 at the time… In fact, it was my 16th birthday.)
  • A woman starts arguing with my mission companion telling us that Mormons have horns.  My companion finally agreed with her and offered to let her feel his horns.  She was very reluctant.  She reached out and quickly rubbed his head.  He asked, “Did you feel them?”  “No,” she said.  “Do you feel anything?” he asked.  She said she did not, to which he replied, “Did you feel stupid?”
  • A friend at school had recently attended an anti-Mormon lecture.  The next day he tried very hard to convince me I don’t believe in Christ.  When he felt like he was failing, he asked, “Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God?”  I answered, “Yes”.  In fact, I answered yes to all his questions.  “Do you believe Christ died for you?”  “Do you believe if you accept him you’ll be saved and forgiven of your sins?”  Finally he said, “Okay, you believe in Christ, but a different one than I do.”

I just thought I’d share a few chuckles.

Taxes

I’ve been adding up numbers for taxes.  Why do they make it so difficult.   I think there are two ways to make taxes more fair and easier.

Method 1:  Sales tax.  That’s right.  A national sales tax.  The only time you pay tax is when you make a purchase.  Save your money and you’re not taxed… until you spend it.

Method 2:  Flat income tax.  Just take 10% out of everyone’s check regardless of the amount.  No loopholes.  No deductions.  It’s just 10 cents on the dollar.

I’m done.  It’s time to call it a day.

Putting the Flash to Work

Putting the Flash to Work

Now that I’ve got my kit built, it I will be putting the flash to work today.  I’m going to take a picture in a kitchen of two women baking.  I’ll probably blog about it on my photo site.

One of the batteries I ordered won’t hold a charge.  So, I contacted Amazon.com and they said they would send a new replacement overnight!  Cool.

The plan for tomorrow is to spend the day gathering all the tax data.  I sure hate doing that.  It would be so much easier if they would just go to a flat tax system.  I like the sticker that said “If 10% is good enough for God it should be good enough for Uncle Sam.”

Wow, if that isn’t the truth.

I had a one-on-one with a fellow Rochester Referral Network member.  This guy owns a video service.  We talked a little about joining forces as necessary.  This will work out nicely as I don’t do video, and now I know someone who lives close that does amazing video work.

While I know there are people who think video and photography are about the same… but trust me, they aren’t.  I’ve attempted videography and it is an entirely different technique and process.  I’ve also heard videographers make the same comment about photography.  And, while there are cameras that do both, I choose to specialize in still photography.

Calling It What It Is

Calling It What It Is

A long time ago kids brought lunch to school.  That was capitalism.  Just calling it what it is.  The old school lunch program was a government program to provide lunches for lower income families is socialism.  I read where a school district is now giving ALL children free lunches regardless of the families economic status.  That, my friends is communism.

There seems to be a relationship between how sinful a society has become and communism.    If it is beginning to slip in to schools in Texas (of all states), how long before we start seeing things like breadlines because that’s the only way to get food, and you simply stand in line to get your weekly loaf of bread.  In the mean time we legalize pot, prostitution and other vices while crime and violence are on the rise too.

While nobody wants to see a child suffer, giving away lunches to every child doesn’t solve the problem.  It is a bandage on the symptom.

I remember kids at school.  There was a kid in Idaho who always smelled bad (bad hygiene and unwashed clothes).  As kids, we shared with him.  He probably got more apples just because those were always the one thing most kids were willing to part with, but he got fed.  What happened after school, however, wouldn’t have changed had the school been giving away free lunches.

You have to ask yourselves where does responsibility rest?

Is it the schools responsibility to educate our children?

I think our society thinks that now.  It used to be the job of parents, but now we push that responsibility over to the schools.

Is it the schools responsibility to feed our children?

I think our society thinks that now.  It used to be the job of parents, but now we push that responsibility over to the schools.

What next?

Clothing?

I will call it what it is.  It is a lack of parental responsibility.  Oh, I’m not talking about the occasional out-of-work parent, or the one dying from cancer.   Or, the one, for who knows what reason, can’t get it together enough to make sure their child takes a lunch to school.

I digress.

I think there is an inherent danger in placing too much responsibility on public schools.  I wish we would stop looking to the government to solve our problems and care for us.  It just isn’t right.

Conversation from Yesterday

Conversation from Yesterday

My blog entry from yesterday generated a conversation with a couple of friends around dinner last night.  It quickly centered on a lack of logical thinking around some mutual acquaintances, as well as being more prevalent among younger generations.

This got me thinking about the shortsightedness of some people.  For example, a person renting an apartment my think a property tax increase is great because the new tax revenue will got to improve the parks.  What they don’t realize is a tax increase will result in their rent increasing.

I hear so many people complain about the high property taxes in this part of New York, yet for some reason, the taxes go up.  This means a high percentage of those complaining are voting for people who and programs that raise taxes.

For example, the Pal-Mac School District recently voted to purchase more busses.  Guess who is going to pay for those new busses?  Property will pay through increased taxes, and eventually it will mean increased rent for renters.

It’s almost impossible for a government/municipality to operated without collecting taxes.  With such a high percentage of people on public assistance, the issue is compounded.

I wonder how public assistance and voting would be different if you could not vote while receiving public assistance.  After all, in the business world, that would be considered a conflict of interest.

Want to vote?  Don’t take tax dollars.

The problem would be with those who receive public assistance because the can’t work.  And, the problem is compounded by those who receive public assistance and won’t work.

At what point does it stop?

Speaking of voting…

Oh, and I watch an interview with Hillary Clinton.  On one hand she defends NSA wiretapping US citizens without probable cause, and then a few minutes later, she condemns NSA for wiretapping Germany’s chancellor. Wow.  You have to replay it to make sure you heard it right.  I have a difficult time seeing any logic in that.   Let’s seriously hope she doesn’t even make it in to the presidential primaries.

Interconnectivity

Interconnectivity

There is a lot of interconnectivity in a community.  If taxes (especially property taxes) are too high, it drives property values down.  If property values are down, the municipality collects fewer taxes.  If they collect fewer taxes, the impulse is to raise taxes.  If they raise taxes, property values stay down.  It is a vicious cycle.

Politicians, on a whole, don’t get it.

For example, a city collects 2% on a $100,000 property, that’s $2,000/year.  If they raise taxes to 2.1% after 5 years, they make an additional $100 a year, but that can keep the value of the property down.  But, if they were collect 1.8%, and the property value goes up to $150,000, they are now making an additional $900/year without having raised taxes.  This is just an overly simplified example, but I’ve seen some interesting studies on how lowering taxes raises more money for the government and puts more money back in the pockets of the consumer.

Of course, voters, on a whole, don’t get it either.

Comes election time, voters will raise taxes through various interconnected ways.  One way is to elect politicians who like spending your money.  Another way is voting for bond issues that are not self-funding.  Another way is voting for propositions that have tax increases buried in to their text.

Interconnectivity is far reaching.   A law meant to affect people in a large city can have a trickle down effect to the farm lands.  When the farm lands suffer, food prices go up.  When food prices go up, everyone pays the price.

Just because tax dollars are available for the taking, doesn’t mean you should take it.  Someone has to pay, and that someone is you and me.   Call it welfare, grants, or programs, someone pays for it.  We do.

We’ve become to reliant on government to take care of things.   That interconnectivity to an entity that has no conscience and no intelligence is dangerous.    When things fail, a government entity doesn’t care, and doesn’t feel the failure.

Perhaps the only means of change is to start with ourselves.  Become self-sufficient and self-reliant and vote for those who understand the interconnectivity so they can help stop the vicious cycle too.