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Comments about ‘Nathan B. Oman: A tax hike liberals and conservatives should both like’

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Published: Thursday, Jan. 10 2013 4:00 p.m. MST

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San Diego Chargers Fan
San Diego, CA

Mr. Oman's piece ridiculously assumes that the only wealthy taxpayers who live California are liberal ones. Just because I live in California does not automatically put me in the liberal category with Speilberg and other "Hollywood moguls."

TaxMan
ARLINGTON, VA

Nate - This proposed "tax hike" already exists. It's called the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and it disproportionately affects those taxpayers with high state income tax deductions, since state and local income taxes aren't deductible in computing AMT.

In addition, the existing tax system fails to consider differences in cost of living among different states. Thus, a middle class family in San Francisco would earn much more than a comparably situated middle class family in Utah, yet they would pay a much higher percentage of their income in U.S. federal income taxes (even disregarding the AMT). You can't reasonably compare a family earning $75,000 in San Francisco to a family earning $75,000 in Provo; the family in Provo has buying power far in excess of the San Francisco family, yet from a U.S. federal income tax standpoint (ignoring higher state taxes in California), they would be situated similarly. The deductibility of the higher state taxes in California, if anything, helps mitigate this distortion.

Your proposal disregards both of these points, by attempting to simplify problems with a very complex tax system into a simple "solution" based on a theory that may not even pan out empirically.

samhill
Salt Lake City, UT

"Right now, for example, Steven Spielberg and other Hollywood moguls that funded the Obama campaign can deduct the full amount of the their high California taxes."

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Surely, all the tax-happy "Hollywood moguls", who presumably believe the government can do better with our money than we can, would refrain from taking these deductions out of sheer principle.

Surely, they would not be so hypocritical as to complain about others not paying enough in taxes and then turn around and avoid paying their own full "fair" share!?

Dudle
Williamsburg, VA

@San Diego Chargers Fan: TIL Conservatives are California's silent majority. Good to know.

cpafred
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Taxman is 100% correct. I would add that itemized deductions are phased out for high income earners under the new law (taxpayers can lose up to 80 percent of their deductions for mortgage interest, property taxes, state income taxes and charitable deductions), further making this column unnecessary.

Mr. Oman's lack of tax/economics background are painfully displayed in his piece. I suggest he stick to politics, law and other areas he may know something about.

On a constructive note, a good (and fair) spending curb might be to limit the amount a state can receive from the federal government each year to the amount their residents pay in federal taxes. It's time Alaska and other "taker" states carry their own weight.

Utah_1
Salt Lake City, UT

Taxed Enough Already. Reduce spending.

Thinkin\' Man
Rexburg, ID

Just cut spending so much that no one's taxes have to increase, and cap it there. Heck, let's cut government spending so that everyone's taxes go way down and they have more to spend, save, and invest. Think of the tremendous economy that would stimulate!

What to cut? Everything.

matt4226
Holladay, UT

What we need are leaders who have the guts to make sacrifices that affect everyone. Liberals often say that raising taxes on the rich is the solution while Conservatives say lowering spending on social welfare programs is the solution.

Back when Paul Ryan released his budget I was hopeful he had a good solution, that is until I read it. He would cut spending just about everywhere with one big exception, the defense budget. About 20% of the total US budget goes to defense spending. The US spends 6-7 times more on defense than the #2 on the list, China. The US spends more than the next 20 countries combined and nearly all of them are our allies.

So why is defense spending a sacred cow? Because it creates a lot of jobs in our economy. Utah has Hill AFB and the new NSA data center as examples. What if balancing the budget means closing Hill AFB, would Utahns be willing to make that sacrifice?

It's easy to say that we can fix this budget crisis by just cutting the budget, but ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice to meet this goal.

George
Bronx, NY

How unfortunate that mr Omar decides to use such childish comments to try to make his point. I have to wonder if he would allow his students to use such shallow logic in his classroom.

Some Random Guy
James City County, VA

Deductions get phased out for some very high earners -- Steven Spielberg no doubt -- and the AMT hits them. Still, there are a lot of people who make a lot of money -- more than I do! -- who still get the full benefit of the state income tax deductions. A couple of google searches suggests that the deduction costs the federal treasury about $50-$60 billion annually. Oman is hardly unmoored from reality. Folks in NY DO have a lower federal tax rate than I do in Virginia. As for the higher cost of living, I am at a loss as to why people in reasonably priced states ought to be subsidizing the lifestyle of people in expensive states. The people who live in San Francisco do so for a reason. The cost comes from the fact that it's "cool" to live in San Francisco. There are lots of cultural and economic opportunities to say nothing of the fun of looking down on the rubes in Utah. That's their choice. Why tax Utahns a higher rate for not making the same choice?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "matt4226" tell me where in the constitution anything that the Ryan plan cut funding on is specifically mentioned.

The big question you should ask is how did we allow all of the non-constitutional mandated spending to occur?

cpafred
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

@Some Random Guy
If you (and Oman) want to make a legitimate "fairness" argument, then the only rational argument is to eliminate the deduction entirely (rather than capping it). You, as a Virginian, are crying about New Yorkers' deductions, but somebody from Alaska, Nevada, etc., is equally justified to cry about yours.
It comes across as disingenuous at best to argue that a tax expenditure is unfair and then want to scale it back only to the point at which it stops benefiting you.

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