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Here They Come For Your Money – Dozens Of States Are Raising Taxes In 2011

You didn’t think that state governments would rack up all of this debt without eventually coming after your money, did you?  In 2011, dozens of U.S. states are either implementing tax increases that have already been passed or are debating new tax increases that have recently been proposed.  In most states, the actual state income tax is not being raised.  State politicians have learned that voters really tend to get angry when that happens.  Rather, our politicians on the state level are looking for taxes and fees that won’t be “noticed” that they can raise.  For example, cigarette taxes, alcohol taxes, gas taxes, carbonated beverage taxes and phone taxes get raised a lot because the voters do not pay them directly to the government and typically they do not get noticed as much.  Another huge area where state politicians love to raise money is through various “fees”.  For instance, millions of Americans have noticed that car registration fees and license fees have absolutely soared in recent years.  Instead of our politicians coming at us with one big, huge tax increase that we would surely notice, they are hitting us with dozens of smaller tax hikes and fee increases that they are hoping we will not get upset about.  The truth is that the average American pays literally dozens of different kinds of taxes each year, and it still isn’t nearly enough to cover the horrific debts that our politicians have piled up.

Today, state and local government debt has reached at an all-time high of 22 percent of U.S. GDP.

Just think about that.

Government debt is not just a federal problem.  Most of our state governments are absolutely drowning in red ink.

Have you been watching the headlines lately?

California is broke.

Illinois is broke.

Texas is broke.

New Jersey is broke.

New York is broke.

In fact, there are very few states that are not on the verge of a financial meltdown.

So what is the solution?

Well, our state governments are going to come and take even more of our money away.

What did you think was going to happen?

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, over the past couple of years a total of 36 out of the 50 U.S. states have raised taxes or fees of some sort.  Other organizations put that number even higher.

And more tax increases are on the way.  The following are just a few of the states that are talking about even more tax increases in 2011….

Illinois – In the state of Illinois, lawmakers are attempting to push through a 66 percent increase in the personal income tax rate.  There is also a proposal to more than double the tax on cigarettes.

Connecticut – Dan Malloy is asking state legislators to approve the biggest tax increase that the state has seen in two decades.

California – California Governor Jerry Brown has unveiled a “draconian” budget plan for 2011 that includes 12 billion dollars in spending cuts and that maintains 12 billion dollars in tax increases.

Maryland – Lawmakers in Maryland are looking at raising taxes on gasoline and alcohol, among other things.

Georgia – Residents of Georgia will soon see a substantial increase in sales taxes on everything from groceries to water, higher cigarette taxes and possibly even higher phone taxes.

Washington State – Lawmakers in the state of Washington are proposing higher taxes on cigarettes, carbonated beverages and “hazardous substances”.

Sadly, there are many more examples which could be mentioned.  Tax increases are being proposed so rapidly all over the nation that it is incredibly difficult to keep up with them all.

So have your taxes been raised lately?

Many of you probably have already noticed that more money is being taken out of your paychecks now than compared to just a few years ago.

In most U.S. states, unemployment insurance payroll taxes have been raised substantially.

But what did you think was going to happen when so many people lost their jobs?

We all have to support all of those unemployed American workers one way or another.  We didn’t say anything when they shipped millions of middle class jobs overseas, so now we have to pay higher taxes to support the millions of workers that have lost their jobs.

According to the National Employment Law Project, 41 U.S. states increased unemployment insurance payroll taxes in 2010.  The average unemployment insurance payroll tax increase was nearly 33.9%.

Does that make you mad?

Well, perhaps you should have bought more products that had “made in the U.S.A.” on them and less products that had “made in China” stamped on them.

But we didn’t provide U.S. workers with good jobs and so now we have to pay higher taxes to keep them from starving.

Meanwhile, our local “law enforcement authorities” are being turned into revenue raising agents.

In many areas of the country it is now difficult to get the police to come out even if someone has stolen your car or broken into your home.

Why?

Well, because they are all out writing tickets and raising money for the government.

And some of the fines being slapped on people in some areas of the country are absolutely outrageous.  For example, from now on if you are caught jaywalking in the city of Los Angeles you will be slapped with a $191 fine.

Speeding tickets in many areas are becoming horribly expensive as well, and even the police realize what is going on.  For example, just consider what Sgt. Richard Lyons says is going on in his community….

“They’re trying to use police officers to balance the budget on the backs of drivers, and it’s too bad. The people we count on to support us and help us when we’re on the road are the ones who end up paying the bills, and they’re ticked off about it. We might as well just go door to door and tell people, ‘Slide us $100 now since your 16-year-old is going to end up paying us anyway when he starts driving.’ You can’t blame people for getting upset.”

Some areas of the country have found that it is even more efficient to automate the process of sucking the revenue out of us.

For example, revenue from red-light cameras doubled from $200,000 a month in 2007 to $400,000 a month at the end of 2009 in the city of Los Angeles.

In America today, drivers are not citizens to be served – they are revenue sources to be tapped.

Have you been tapped lately?

But even with all of the tax hikes, fee increases and “revenue raising”, our state and local governments are still drowning in debt.

So where does all of this end?

What is America eventually going to look like if all of this continues?

Those are some hard questions.  Please feel free to leave a comment if you think that you have some answers….

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  • mondobeyondo

    Naturally, our esteemed lawmakers have the perfect fix to solve our budget Mess.

    It’s the same solution that Pharaoh proposed to the Hebrew slaves in ancient Egypt, in the days of Moses: (to paraphrase… if you wanna read the actual text, read the book of Exodus in the Bible)

    “Make more bricks with less straw! And if you don’t like it… well, you WILL like it! Why? Because I (Pharaoh) am the government, and I said so! Now shut up and get to work!”

    It will only get worse. They’ll tax us for breathing fresh air (oops, already doing that! Ever heard of an auto emissions tax? In Arizona at least, you can’t renew your auto registration unless your vehicle passes emissions control.)

    Too bad for us, there is no Moses on the horizon to lead us out of our misery.

  • Gary

    Until the states have taxed the greedy to help the needy as opposed to trickling the wealth up like it has been they will always have budget deficits. Just think-25 hedge fund managers have made billions and are only taxed at 15% capital gains. This could save a lot of police/firefighters/teachers and close the budget shortfall if they only paid their fair share (at least 50%). I have yet to have anyone explain why these hedge fund managers should only be taxed 15%.

    The federal gov also needs to tax the greedy to help the needy and then they need to tax the wealthy to keep us healthy-single payer!

  • lva

    with 2.1 million on welfare in los angeles, in a county of 10.1 million people, i figure after you throw in the oodles on unemployment and sooo many receiving disability here that only 1 in 2 working age people (18 to 65) actually works, while the other one gets a free entitlement check. i wonder who i am supporting. some schmuck gets to stay home all day while i labor for them. they don’t even send me a photo or a thank you. makes me think, why work; i am on the wrong side of this crazy fence.

  • $_$

    Global systemic crisis. Second half of 2011. Explosion of the Western debt bubble. The worlds financial operators will finally understand that the West will not repay a significant portion of the loans advanced over the last two decades. At this time it is irrelevant to talk about any matters other than preparation for the collapse of America….

  • Max

    Sadly this creeping barrage of stealth taxes are all too familiar from my English experiance. Odd, because normally the US is generally the trend-setter. The police in England long ago became mere revenue collectors for the Government and have abreggated all pretence of preventing crime, let alone bringing violent culprits to justice. The officer you quote rightly laments what will happen when those the police need to help them solve real crime turn away in disgust.

    I have taken the only step open to me, which is to emmigrate to a country that respects hard work and where the Government essentially runs the Courts, funds a ‘traditional’ police service to protect its citizens, offers ‘free’ medical care for all and lets business get on with what it does best. It does so by levying a salaries tax at 15% on the wealthiest 25% (zero for the rest) and charges no other taxes at all. On anything. The effect of this on revenues is so beneficial, they run a massive annual Government surplus and most years give unspent taxes back.

    I accept emmigration is not an option for most, in which case we must simply await the tipping point. In both the US and Europe, that will come. The political class that holds the people in such contempt will soon meet the reality of a populace that stands up and says ‘no more’. I do not know when that will happen – the status quo has a habit of lasting longer than you think – but given no Western politician will do anything other than spend massive amounts of money they don’t have and can never raise through taxes, the tipping point will come. Ironically, the very politicians who do this will guarantee the end of the Keynsian welfare state everywhere. The ‘reset’ will hard though.

    I have read the purile outpourings from Gary – he is either 15 or it’s written by someone simply looking to provoke and who doesn’t believe what is written. No adult could write that and mean it, without needing help eating and breathing.

  • Jimbo

    To Gary:
    Yeah, you’re quite the poet: “Tax the greedy to help the needy” blah blah blah. Too bad you have no understanding of Austrian Economics, which might help you understand how things work instead of devoting wasted time to your poetic tendencies.

  • http://www.starvingthemonkeys.com/ John and Dagny Galt

    Please join us in Starving The Monkeys!

  • Ouida Gabriel

    Could you explain why TX is broke? Are you speaking of the projected shortfall in the budget or is there something that shows we are in the red? Last I knew we are doing well and even have a “Rainy Day Fund” for emergencies. Any information would be helpful. Thanks.

    Ouida Gabriel

  • A Dodgy Bloke

    These states do not have a revenue problem they have a spending problem. Hiking taxes will only drive away anybody with any money, compounding the problem. As I have said before this is save what you can time, states and cities in trouble will become more aggressive in getting tax revenue. Aggressive tax collection is one more thing you’ll have to factor into your planning short of running off to a low tax state, I’m not sure how you go about that. This Blog did an article on going to other states to escape the coming march of the dimwits and the common view of the peanut gallery was don’t come here. Thoughts from some of the brighter and not so long winded bulbs would be welcomed.

  • Bill

    @ Max; pray tell what utopia have you found that operates so naturally? Guessing somewhere in South America…

    Care to share? I would like to finish my preparations with an exit plan…

    I was thinking Venezuela because HC is too smart to let the World Bank and IMF rob him blind — as a white male though, I am a wee bit concerned about being kidnapped ;-)

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Thx.

  • Matt R

    @Jimbo: Gary has the same fundamental misunderstanding of how things work that all folks like him do.

    Gary thinks there is some celestial “money pie” of a fixed size and that anything some evil rich (i.e., greedy) person “gets” must necessarily come at someone else’s expense.

    Lost on mental midgets like Gary is the fact that far from fixed in size, the money pie is growing. Economies grow, and they do so because of the time, energy, talent and capital invested in them by Gary’s so-called “greedy” people. These people aren’t stealing from Gary and other like-minded hourly workers, they are *creating* pie and merely trying to keep a fair portion of it.

    I look forward to the day that we can put people like Gary in camps. I’m not kidding.

  • mikrat

    When are the Sheeple going to just say **** You to the States and Fed Gov?

    They keep on taking more and more of what everyone has less of, and the Sheep just keep on giving in and paying it.

    WE are supposed to be the ones in control of this Nation/Republic (Not a ****ing Democracy), yet we sit by year after years taking it in the ass by the “Leaders” that are supposed to be there for us.

    What a joke this “Free” country has become. Everything has become a Privilage and the Sheep still think they are free.

    Have a look at this site and see where Your Tax Money goes in the States, Cities, and Counties.

    http://cafr1.com/

    Wake up Sheeple – You are slaves to the Elite and you are to blind to see it.

    Say NO! **** NO!

  • Wondering

    I have heard the statement here that 1 n 2 adults are on disability. I think that statement is very inflated.

  • http://www.rickety.us Rick

    It is the people that elect their government so if you do not want tax increases work or donate money to vote out of office those that raise your taxes. In the recent national elections, many did not like the agenda of the Democratic majority and a lot of Democrats were tossed out of office.

    When a state government is in such dire straits as Illinois is it is obvious that spending cuts have to be taken. But in tandem it is prudent to temporarily raise taxes to even more quickly bring the budget into balance.

    Illinois, by raising their income tax to 5% puts the rate squarely in the middle of the range levied by surrounding states. 5% is the rate I pay where I live (Utah).

    One reason that states are so in debt is that they reflect their populations as a whole who are also heavily in debt. Hence, politicians are merely reflecting the values of the majority that elected them.

    If this were not so, they would not be able to stay in office so long. Perhaps those commenting here represent the minority who are more sensible with their finances and are politically involved to bring about needed changes, rather than just complain.

    But perhaps not.

  • Guido

    Perhaps the states shouldn’t spend money they don’t have on programs that aren’t essential to their functioning?

    As for Gary-who are you to set the tax rates for people? Seems to me, if we believe the Constitution and our ideal that everyone is equal before the law, then perhaps everyone should pay an equal tax rate. Otherwise, if we’re going to tax the wealthy at a higher rate, shouldn’t they be justified in expecting a higher degree of service in return? Taxes aren’t meant to make outcomes equal. They’re not a weapon. They’re a fee for the function of government. If a we’re all equal, we should all pay an equal fee, or at least percentage of our income. You seem to think government should keep a thumb on the scales and pick outcomes for people. That’s playing favorites. I could have sworn that we were against that in the past.

  • Guido

    Dodgey Bloke is right-high taxes drive off the tax payers. Look at the wealthy and how they left NYC and Maryland in the last couple years. It’s like nailing jell-o to the wall. If you raise taxes to confiscate as much wealth as possible, you drive the wealth holders right out of the state. The end result is you lose money. Thanks to our high-tech world, there’s no reason to feel rooted to a specific community. You can tele-work from anywhere. Rush has proven you can run a radio show empire from anywhere.

  • Jason

    No amount of taxation will fix the fact that government thinks it’s okay to spend more than it makes. If they get more, they will spend more than they get. Revenue is not the problem, it’s the lack of responsibility, logic, and morals that have bankrupted our nation, more money will just pay for more corruption.

    Our government is both broke, and broken. I don’t trust them now, I certainly can’t trust them if they’re better funded.

    If your girlfriend constantly bitched at you about how hungry she was and she weighed 800lbs would you give her more food to fix the hunger problem?

  • Ed

    Thanks Jimbo. You addressed a big part of the problem.

  • Ross

    Do a search. CAFR’s Walter Burien.

  • http://talltown.us Chief

    America is well on its way to being as neutered and enslaved by its own political-correctness as the country formerly known as Great Britain.

  • Beavis

    mikrat;

    Get off the treadmill! The government, and the corporations, are NOT good for you!

    Get your act together and get off the grid. It takes a couple of years to gain enough knowledge to hunt, fish, garden, etc. at a level that will feed your family, but I like to be active after all those years of working 12 hour days at a desk, then sitting around watching TV & eating.

    Its a much more filling, wholesome, healthy lifestyle AND you only get reemed a couple of times a year when you pay property taxes & car registration fees (… I NEED to get rid of that car…)

  • war doc

    Amerika is fast becoming a third world cesspool.
    Those with a brain and resources to do so are leaving….

  • http://firesteel.com/ FireSteel.com

    You wrote: “We didn’t say anything when they shipped millions of middle class jobs overseas, so now we have to pay higher taxes to support the millions of workers that have lost their jobs.”

    Yep.

    How many of you regularly shop at WalMart to save a buck?

    Well, there you go…WalMart is also known as “China Mart” and for good reason – it sells stuff cheaply because nearly all of Walmarts items are made in Asia.

    Now, I know most of you are not rocket scientists, so I’ll make it easy for you:

    1) Most of you go straight for the price and buy stuff made in Asia because Asians are willing to work for peanuts so their products are cheaper.

    2) Then YOU cry when you, your friends, or neighbors loose jobs, loose benefits, have lower wages, etc and etc.

    What did you think would happen?

  • http://www.mortgageresistanceofamerica.com FrankyFreelance

    Economics and politics are – by nature – simply antithetical in my opinion.

    Let’s face it, the U.S. is slowly and steadily descending into the ranks of a third world (post-industrial) nation – where dire economic straits bypass the legitimacy of the judicial and legislative systems.

    Bummer.

    In the corrupt, third world Asian country I hav escaped to, if your house/shop catches fire the firefighters will not even hook up the hose unless you pay them what they ask for. Otherwise they will just let your place burn to the ground.

    Kinda gives you a sense of what may be to come – as well as an appreciation for what we (as “current” and/or “recovering” Americans) have taken for granted.

    JOIN THE RESISTANCE!
    http://www.mortgageresistanceofamerica.com

  • missy

    Buy less, and when you do buy, buy American.
    In time, this behaviour will change the US.
    Once they realise you will only buy American, foreign companies will start building factories in the US just to get to your wallet.
    If the item is only available made in another country, see if you can live without it.

  • http://www.pathtoasia.com rhea

    Government per see, not just the Republican and Democrats, should change its ways. They should be there for the people but it seems that the government itself is the problem. And where do you think the money will go!? (A no-brainer question at all).

    We help Americans find jobs and prosperity in Asia. For details, visit http://www.pathtoasia.com/jobs/

  • Tricia

    Ordinary people are paying more and more because the filthy rich and the corporations are not paying their fair share. For the past 30 years they have shifted their share of the tax burden onto the lower classes. This latest tax deal of Obama and the Repubs is a good example – taxes on people making less than $20,000 a year will go up while the taxes of the filthy rich go down. Additionally the super rich have been waging class warfare against the lower classes, even though they are already extremely wealthy. While wages have stagnated or declined over this time, destroying the middle class in the process, the incomes of the rich have tripled/quadrupled, siphoning off for themselves all productivity gains of the last 30 years.
    Most rich people inherit their money; they don’t work for it. Inherited wealth does no work and lives off other people’s labor, making them much bigger parasites than the welfare people conservatives always decry. Both inherited wealth and welfare people live off others’ earnings, but the wealthy get much more of it.
    As for corporations, in 2009 Exxon-Mobil paid not one cent in taxes, despite earnings of nearly $20 billion. It even got a refund if several hundred million! Shows what you can do with the best lawyers money can buy.
    It’s tax evasion by the well connected that is making things so difficult for the rest of us.

  • Gary

    Tricia-you are right on, Good Post!