Thursday, May 17, 2012

I am the 14% (Thursday LINKS)

By my amateur review, and without incorporating whatever deductions we may be eligible for, it seems apparent to me that my wife and I will be subject to the income tax increases passed by the General Assembly.  It certainly is not polite to talk about income, and I had great hesitations about doing so here, but I've heard so many people try to speak for "me" over the last three months that I thought I may as well just speak for myself.

First, I'm not outraged.  I'm not even mad.  I feel the same way I feel when the dinner check is about 20% more than I had expected ("Honey, that special was $35.  I hope it was good.") I keep feeling like I should be mad, raise a shaking fist to the sky, and call someone a bastard.  But I'm not inclined to.

Second, I will spend less money.  This tax increase is not coming out of my savings or my brokerage account.  The hundreds of dollars that are going to Aunt Mary would otherwise go to Victoria or The Wine Bin or Home Depot.  (Scary to see my expendable income priorities listed out like that).  I don't think I will donate less or redirect money.  It is certainly possible that I will save a little less.  But overall, I am one of the few that can handle this increase without resetting my balance sheets.

Third, I'm not typical.  I imagine that the vast majority of my fellow 14 percenters have kids.  I would not be surprised if a significant number of "us" are living paycheck to paycheck, between daycare, food, clothing, and everything else it takes to raise a child.  I feel very bad for those folks...and assume they are mad...and calling someone a bastard.

Fourth, I would rather pay more in taxes that see any less funding go to foster care.  That's not to say our social services are a tight model of efficiency, but I do know that a cut in funding would be a cut in desperately needed funding.  Am I "tuxedo t-shirting" tax dollars?  You bet I am.  But the sentiment remains.

Finally, I do feel like someone let me down.  Still not mad, just disappointed.  The law-makers we sent to Annapolis knew there was going to be a shortfall between revenue and expenditures when they went into session last Winter.  As I've noted repeatedly here, Howard County has some very powerful senior representatives.  Why didn't I see one alternative spending plan from any of them that wasn't called "Doomsday" and didn't premise cuts on services that have no business being cut?  What are you doing down there if not looking out for us?  Your colleagues may have made you think that Howard County is just a bunch of rich NIMBY's, but you know better.  And you knew that your constituents would bear the brunt of any tax increase from day one.  Who was standing in front of the train?  Where were our alternatives?  You may not have to face a legitimate challenger for all of the Novembers of your life, but you will have to deal with the fact that people like me trusted you to look out for us, and I don't feel like you did.


The O's had yet another marathon game last night, closing out a 4-3 win in the 15th inning with an Adam Jones home run.

The Sun notes that if Governor O'Malley were to run for the White House, he would have to explain his "tax first, ask questions later" legacy.  Of particular note is that the taxes he is set to pass dip down into the self-identified "middle class" and do not limit themselves to the Obama-defined "rich" at $250,000.  Among the many black-letter laws of politics is the prohibition: don't increase taxes on the middle class.

The first new building for Downtown Columbia will be a $100 million mixed use project near the Columbia mall.  It is projected to have 380 new apartments and 14,000 square feet of retail space.  Construction is projected to start early next year.

Opponents of the Wegman's liquor store note that the proposed new location violates numerous laws relating to ownership, particularly in light of the fact that Wegman's is a chain store.

Grand Prix tickets will be going on sale at the end of this month.  Unless the vendors are willing to make that purchase a secured debt, I would recommend against buying any.

Delegate Patrick McDonough warns tourists about "black youth mobs" and advocates for a "no travel zone" in the Inner Harbor.  He says that to fall to mention the "race of the participants" would be "political correctness on steroids."  (I've typed three different sentences, but I think Delegate McDonough may have made me speechless).

Featured Blog Post of the Day:  (I may have to rename this "Sarah's Corner")  Sarah advocates for using Howard Transit for this weekend's Wine in the Woods festivities.  (Clyde's will also be having a Beer Festival on the Lakefront).  Jane and I were very close to using the bus last year, but our inhibitions, and ignorance of the fare total, discouraged us at the last minute.  Maybe we'll give it another go on Saturday.

Have a great Thursday doing what you love!