Letter: Utah delegation should give taxpayers a break

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  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 29, 2017 8:39 a.m.

    RE: "Utah delegation should give taxpayers a break"...
    ---
    Keep in mind... UTAH delegation can't give tax payers a break. At least not on Federal Taxes. We have too small a delegation to do that.

    You should be begging California, or NY's delegation to give us a tax break.

    Utah's delegation is 4 people (out of 335 in the HOR).
    2 people in the Senate (out of 100).
    So Utah's delegation is probably not going to be able to give you a tax break. That's not a realistic expectation.

    They can't give you a tax break in the State either. Because Utah's income tax is a "Flat-Tax".

    So they would have to lower it for everybody, if they lower it for you.

    I know... how inconvenient.

    And so unfair.

    But seriously... if you want a tax break, don't look to Utah's delegation. Talk to California's delegation. They have 53 votes in the HOR, we have 4.

    Some States have only one vote in the 335 votes (HOR). Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming.

    So Utah's delegation can't realistically give you a tax break. Utah's delegation is almost irrelevant in the scheme of things.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 28, 2017 5:23 p.m.

    NoNames..I actually agree that everyone should have skin in the game. There are practical concerns however that are more moral than ideological that complicate the tax issue.

    I don't find it incongruous that someone who is working to support themselves and those they are responsible for are relieved of some tax burden in order to prevent them from falling into abject poverty. They will still be responsible for all VAT's, in support of their local community.

    There is not "an" answer to what is rich. It's a relative concept, with a relative answer, and essentially a meaningless question, not worthy of discussion.

    There is also not "an" answer to how much a "rich" person should be able to keep. There are only principles to guide us as circumstances change.

    As a principle I would say as a progressive, a person should be able to keep as much of their "earned" income as possible, and as circumstances dictate while maintain a vital, and moral society.

    I think the 90% marginal tax rate of the 50's out lived it usefulness. I also think the maintenance of social programs that support the disadvantaged and elderly are essential.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 28, 2017 4:48 p.m.

    To "Shaun" again, how do you define what is "fair"? That is the key issue. What is "fair".

    I can define equal or proportional, but how do you define "fair".

    Right now you think it is fair to take a large portion of a wealthy person's income. What if in 5 years somebody decides that what is "fair" is to take away a large portion of your income. Would you stand by and let the government take more of your income to be "fair"?

    You should read what the parenting books and research say about kids who always want things to be "fair".

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 28, 2017 4:04 p.m.

    @Shaun: "Also the poor and lower middle class do pay taxes they are fica taxes which is around seven percent of their income. "

    But FICA isn't really taxes is it? It is a forced savings/retirement/disability insurance program which provides benefits to those who paid into it. FICA payroll deductions are not taxes that fund the general operation of the federal government. They are payments into a benefit system from which the payer fully expects to draw out money in the future.

    "The rich" (however you choose to define that) pay that same 6.5% as do "the poor". Yes, they only pay on the first ~$120k of income precisely because the benefits are capped. When a rich man retires SS doesn't pay him his lifetime wages. It pays him based only on the capped amount of $120k.

    Please tell us what you think qualifies as "rich".

    Top 10% at $133k?

    Top 5% at $215?

    I assure you, these families do not consider themselves "rich" enough to have massive portions taken from them while having to pay for college without any taxpayer assistance.

    Even the top 1% starts at $465k a year.

    $1M cracks the top 0.1%. Not poor, but hardly jet setting rich.

    Or is it just 2x what you make?

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Nov. 28, 2017 3:54 p.m.

    @redshirt

    Your argument is misleading. A smaller amount of people are sharing that 20 percent of income vs a larger amount sharing the other 80 percent.

    5 percent of a million produces more money than 20 percent of a 100k. Would that be fair? The rich guy is still paying more than the guy making a 100k.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 28, 2017 2:14 p.m.

    To "Shaun" the issue isn't how much the wealthy will miss the money. The issue is what is fair.

    Also, what you don't take into account is just how low the bar is to be considered rich. For instance, to get into the top 10% of income earners you only have to ear $133,000/year.

    I can guarantee you that most of the top 10% suffer when taxes are raised on them.

    My tax analogy is not misleading. Your ilk wants the rich to pay their fair share. According to the numbers they are paying MORE than their fair share. Why should people who earn 20% of all wages pay 40% of all income taxes? Why isn't the bottom 20% of income paying anything into income tax system? Is it fair for 50% of the US to pay no income tax?

  • Curmedgeon Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 28, 2017 8:52 a.m.

    @2bit - It wasn't that Warren Buffet paid less tax than his secretary, he paid a lower effective rate than his secretary.

    As far as Income Tax Fairness, there is no such thing without a flat tax. 2 people, making the same amount of money will not pay the same taxes. The marital status, number of dependents, whether the own a house or are renting, amount of charitable deductions and other factors determine how much one pays in taxes. While Income Tax has a basis on Income, it is just as dependent on lifestyle. I have had years where I had 0 tax due on income of over 100K.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Nov. 28, 2017 8:24 a.m.

    @nonamesaccepted

    If republicans want to raise income taxes on the poor and lower middle class then go ahead. It would be the largest tax hike in history.

    Also the poor and lower middle class do pay taxes they are fica taxes which is around seven percent of their income.

    My point is you and republicans defend the rich as if they are getting soaked. They are not, not even close. Most wealthy people either do not pay fica taxes or if they do it is a rounding error on their income. However republicans want to cut their taxes even further and then turn around and say we have a debt problem because they cut taxes and now because of that so called debt problem they want to cut SS and Medicare which have an entirely different funding source that the wealthy do not even contribute to.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 9:04 p.m.

    @Shaun: "Second, are the wealthy overly burdened compared to the middle class? "

    A poor man is entitled to the fruits of his labor. A rich man is no less entitled to the fruits of his labor.

    My grandma used to say that a spendthrift woman could take more money out of household with a teaspoon than a man could bring home with a shovel. Ignoring the sexist tone of that old saw, a nation of poor voters can spend more tax money than their rich neighbors can ever hope to pay.

    A poor man ought to be burdened by taxes. We ought to all feel the pinch of taxes so when it comes time to vote--whether for office holders, or another "small" tax increase, or then next great program--we stop and consider whether the promised benefits are really worth the increased cost.

    Taxing "the rich" or the next generation (via borrowing) to support our desires is immoral. We ought to support ourselves.

    The question isn't whether anyone is burdened more than another. The question is whether everyone is pulling his just share of the load.

    The rich live well in any nation. The US offers unique opportunities to the poor and middle class. Stop trying to soak the rich, it is you who will get wet.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 4:13 p.m.

    @redshirt.

    Your tax analogy is misleading. First of all a small percentage of large income will always be higher than a large percentage of a small income dollar wise.

    Second, are the wealthy overly burdened compared to the middle class? I don't think so. I send the same percentage of my income to the federal government as many wealthy people do. Mitt Romney's effective rate was 14 percent. My effective rate is anywhere from 6 to 8 percent plus fica which is like 7 percent. Yet somehow it is always the rich that need more tax relief.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 2:54 p.m.

    @RedShirt - 2:01
    RE: "Can you explain how you determine what a "fair rate" is"...
    ---
    You hit on the key problem when one tries to determine what is "Fair" for another person.

    It's hard to define what is "Fair" and have everyone agree it is "fair", unless you treat all citizens the same.

    It's hard to say X is "fair" for somebody else, but not for you. And somebody else thinks Y is "fair" for you (but not for them). It's not really "fair".

    Today Americans have no idea what their tax liability is until they do the math using the "fair" equations for this year, and apply all the "fair" deductions, and "fair" shelters... and some number they could have never predicted going in comes out.

    And every 2 years there's new people in there deciding what's "Fair" for each group, and take special care of their favorite tax rebates. That's why after a decade or so the system needs to be reformed, and simplified.

    That's what happens in America. Check history. Every 10 years our tax code gets so complicated nobody understands it and we reform it. But politicians think they have to play favorites, and decide what's "fair" for one group, but not for another. So the cycle repeats.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 2:01 p.m.

    To "marxist" and what about in 10 years when somebody else thinks that isn't a fair rate? Who says that employers exploit laborers? Unions exploit employers, yet you love unions.

    Can you explain how you determine what a "fair rate" is? Judging by what you have stated, it appears that for you fair is any amount more than what you would have to pay. It is as if you want to exploit the rich. Why is it ok for you to exploit the rich?

    Who cares how much wealth the top 1% hold. Do we tax wealth or do we tax income?

    Since when is an unequal wealth distribution bad? Yes collectivists like yourself hate it, but when your ilk take over a government the inequality goes through the roof with the haves in government ruling over the poor. Yes for the masses income is more equal, but who wants a country full of poor people?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 1:45 p.m.

    This narrow analysis of one tax rebate and the games people play with the tax code is the reason we need to go to a simple flat-tax with no deductions.

    All these deductions and rules that change yearly are the reason nobody knows for sure what their tax liability should be. It's hard to tell how much you are going to have to pay in taxes. It all depends on how good your tax attorney is, or how much you are willing to pay accountants and lawyers to find tax loopholes and deductions for you.

    The rich can afford to pay people to find tax write offs and tax avoidance strategies. Most normal people don't have attorneys and accountants to find all the available tax tricks that are out there.

    Just make it a flat-tax. No deductions. And anybody who knows how much they get paid... will know how much they owe in taxes. No questions or tricky lawyers and accountants needed.

    Most of us can't afford to pay a group of accountants and tax lawyers to find tax breaks for us anyway.

    The citizens should be able to understand their tax code. We can't today. That's wrong.

    We don't understand how Warren Buffett can be in a higher tax bracket, but pay less taxes than his secretary.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 12:58 p.m.

    @RedShirt "For example, the top 1% earned 20% of the AGI in the US. That same 1% paid 37.8% of all income taxes. Explain how it is fair for them to be paying a higher percentage of income taxes than most any other group."

    It is fair because they receive the most benefit from the exploitation of hired labor.

    And btw, the income distribution doesn't explain sufficiently the inequality in our society produced by labor's exploitation.

    Currently, the richest 1% hold about 38% of all privately held wealth in the United States. while the bottom 90% hold 73% of all debt. The richest 1 percent in the United States now own more wealth than the bottom 90 percent.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 12:47 p.m.

    @pragmatistferlife:

    You failed to answer my questions.

    Let me answer yours. Federal income taxes are too low right now....for a lot of citizens/voters who are not paying anything yet have the full franchise to help decide how money is spent.

    If raising taxes from zero or even negative, to something very modest does real harm to the lower income and lower-middle classes then something is very wrong. Do we remove the vote from those who contribute nothing to the national support?

    On the flip side, top rates of 30%+ are too high in my opinion no matter how much a man earns.

    Total tax burden should not exceed 50%.

    So I ask again to see if liberal are willing to give straight answers.

    1-What is "rich"? ($200k? $1M)
    2-How much is a "rich" man entitled to keep? (50%, 80%)
    3-What is the minimum we should expect a "poor" man to contribute to his nation and community? Anything at all? (Is even 5% too much to expect?)
    4-How much socialism (or gun control) would really satisfy you? What will you leave to free market? What specific aspects of my RKBA will you respect? Which guns, which ammo, where can I carry for self defense?

    Simple questions. What are your answers?

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 12:37 p.m.

    Let me get this right. The Republicans tried to cut spending in the budget, and the Democrats complained about that. They want to cut spending and reduce taxes, now the Democrats are complaining about that. Lets remind the Democrats that they lost to Trump, and that if they want to have a chance at winning 2020, maybe they should come up with their own plan to cut taxes and cut spending because people like to keep more of their own money.

    To "marxist" but you still didn't answer the the question. What is a person's "fair share"? For example, the top 1% earned 20% of the AGI in the US. That same 1% paid 37.8% of all income taxes. Explain how it is fair for them to be paying a higher percentage of income taxes than most any other group.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 12:05 p.m.

    @Copybook Headings. "If I pay 50k in taxes and you pay nothing how can you tell me I don't pay my fair share? Centering the argument on paying a 'fair share' provides deceitful cover for what really bothers liberals: how much someone has left over."

    First point, everyone pays taxes, e.g. sales taxes, property taxes.

    Second point, speaking as a Marxist (not a liberal) I look at the entire social system, not just the political part. Labor produces a surplus, output beyond what is necessary for basic survival. That's why we have civilization and are not at the hunter/gatherer stage.

    Third point, in capitalism employers pay labor enough to keep going, but employers keep labor's surplus. This is the source of most profit.

    Fourth point, in assessing what sort of tax policy is fair, labor's relation to employers needs to be considered.

  • Thomas Jefferson Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 11:28 a.m.

    This tax cut for millionaires while putting the bill on the credit card is beyond stupid. The GOP is making a big mistake but I am sure when it all comes crashing down they will just blame it on the dems and their minions will cheer them on.

    Party before country, logic, and common decency is the new GOP mantra.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 11:25 a.m.

    Middle income families aren't donating thousands upon thousands to the election or re-election campaigns. Therefore their needs aren't paramount to those governing.

  • Ford DeTreese Provo, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 9:59 a.m.

    And if you believe the GOP's silly supply-side, trickle-down rhetoric, well, I've got a scholarship to Trump university for you.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 10:00 a.m.

    I am firmly entrenched in the middle class. I am older and well employed, so I am comfortable and not in need of a tax break. But just for fun, I calculated my 2016 taxes using the GOP's tax "reform" parameters, which our Orrin Hatch has touted as a big bonus for the middle class. The result? My taxable income would have increased by over $9,500 because of the lost personal exemptions that far outweighed the difference between the new standard deduction and my 2016 itemized deductions. But because the tax rate would be lower, that helped offset the big increase in taxable income. Still, I would have paid $529 more under the new GOP "reform" plan. Middle-class tax cut. Not for me. And not for most.

    I'm not complaining. I've been saying for a long time that I should probably be paying more to help reduce the debt. But the wealthy should be paying far more to help us get our debt under control. And no, cutting expenses falls way short. We don't need a tax cut right now, especially one that favors the wealthy by a huge margin. Trump and his fellow rich boys are set to make off like bandits under the GOP plan. As they always do in the Republican universe.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Nov. 27, 2017 8:26 a.m.

    NoNames.."I sure wish the liberals would just be forthright enough to tell us:

    1-What is "rich"?
    2-How much is a "rich" man entitled to keep?......."

    Simple question back at you. When are taxes low enough?

    Low income families (up to the bottom 40% of wage earners) pay little to no taxes mostly because of deductions. Start to take those deductions away, and guess what the American Enterprise Institute, the Chicago school of Business, and the CBO come out and say this bill will do real damage to anyone earning pretty much under 100K a year.

    In addition, all conservative evaluations of the bill say it won't spark growth or job increase, but will put 1.5 to 2.5 trillion on the deficit.

    So when are taxes low enough?

  • TeachyMcTeacherPants Sandy, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 8:10 a.m.

    How is it evil when Obama increases the deficit but when the Republican congress does it's "just what the country needs".

    These tax cuts wont stimulate the economy. The manufacturing jobs will keep going to Asia and the CEOs will keep giving themselves raises and we will be right where we started from except for more debt.

    If you are a fiscal conservative, it's time to call your congressman and tell them how displeased you are. Giving our children debt is irresponsible.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Nov. 27, 2017 6:38 a.m.

    I don't know how the people of Utah will be individually affected by Senator Hatch's Frankenstein Tax bill. I know a little about how it will affect me personally (for the worse, we have high income taxes).

    But what I do know is that Senator Hatch's bill is a Wizard of Oz bit of chicanery.

    Making tax breaks permanent for corporations and the already wealthy, while temporary for the mostly poor or middle class.

    Adding billions, trillions to the deficit. (I thought the GOP was for balanced budgets.)

    Toss some goodies for miscellaneous constituencies and pressure groups favored by the GOP, and you have indeed created a Monster which will eat our lunch.

    All negotiated in private, with no public hearings. (I thought was against such things, as they falsely accused Democrats of that action regarding Obamacare.)

    If that does not show you where the GOP priorities are, then I don't know what would.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Nov. 27, 2017 6:39 a.m.

    I don't know how the people of Utah will be individually affected by Senator Hatch's Frankenstein Tax bill. I know a little about how it will affect me personally (for the worse, we have high income taxes).

    But what I do know is that Senator Hatch's bill is a Wizard of Oz bit of chicanery.

    Making tax breaks permanent for corporations and the already wealthy, while temporary for the mostly poor or middle class.

    Adding billions, trillions to the deficit. (I thought the GOP was for balanced budgets.)

    Toss some goodies for miscellaneous constituencies and pressure groups favored by the GOP, and you have indeed created a Monster which will eat our lunch.

    All negotiated in private, with no public hearings. (I thought was against such things, as they falsely accused Democrats of that action regarding Obamacare.)

    If that does not show you where the GOP priorities are, then I don't know what would.

  • Copybook Headings Draper, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 5:40 a.m.

    If I pay 50k in taxes and you pay nothing how can you tell me I don't pay my fair share? Centering the argument on paying a 'fair share' provides deceitful cover for what really bothers liberals: how much someone has left over. And if they ever get this country to the point where nobody keeps anything for himself they'll just find something else to complain about. You can take that to the bank; if there's any left.

  • silo Sandy, UT
    Nov. 27, 2017 2:21 a.m.

    @no names accepted

    "What is the minimum we should expect a "poor" man to contribute to his nation and community?"

    Poor man or rich, not a single one should get a tax break until spending is cut and the deficit is eliminated.

    This ridiculous tax plan the GOP has coughed up for their nestlings does exact opposite. It spikes the deficit and will spike the debt, and the 'growth' they promise will never occur.

    Not a single person supporting this tax plan can call themselves a conservative.

  • louie Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 26, 2017 10:35 p.m.

    I bet the Utah delegation those few details about the tax bill. Large families in Utah file using itemized exemptions , it stands to reason that getting rid of the state tax and property tax exemptions could be a problem. I believe most of the congressional delegation in Utah has not even looked into this impact on our citizens.

    At least Mike Lee has expressed concerns about not having the state income tax exemption. I believe a detailed review of the impact on many of our families would to find that many would actually be paying more taxes with this new tax law.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Nov. 26, 2017 9:26 p.m.

    Lower income families pay no federal income taxes. Many of them, in fact, get paid to file taxes thanks to the "earned" income tax credit.

    Even many lower middle class families pay no federal income taxes thanks to current per child deductions. Our usual liberal posters will quite often decry and attack this fact when railing against all things LDS or Utah.

    In this case, they will ignore their usual line of reasoning to instead rail against the evil GOP.

    Upper middle class families, of course, lose eligibility for the per child deduction. They are also not eligible for need based college financial assistance for their children meaning they pay for college out of pocket. Ditto for school lunches, heating and cooling bills, medical insurance, and a host of other costs.

    I sure wish the liberals would just be forthright enough to tell us:

    1-What is "rich"?
    2-How much is a "rich" man entitled to keep?
    3-What is the minimum we should expect a "poor" man to contribute to his nation and community? Anything at all?
    4-How much socialism (or gun control) would really satisfy you?

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Nov. 26, 2017 5:43 p.m.

    "Come on, Utah delegation. Give us a break."

    How about "Come Utah voters-give us a break"? Utah continually votes against their own self interests and our Utah delegation will vote exactly the way the Koch brothers tell them to vote.