Tuesday, February 08, 2005

You thought your paycheck was yours?

If you did, you'd be in the minority.

Again this year, the state of New Jersey is meeting its standard quota for budget crisis. Its solution is to
tax your 401-K contributions. Some fun quotes:

...According to one administration source, the state has considered such a change in policy since 2001. The official said that one-quarter of all retirees move away from New Jersey, and the state never receives any income tax when they withdraw from their 401(k) plans.

Boo-hoo. Maybe fewer would move if the state would lay off with the fees and taxes.

...The official said contributions to other retirement plans, such as IRAs, Keough Plans, teacher retirement accounts and deferred compensation accounts are already subject to the state taxation.
..."It's not a tax increase. It is consistency. All (retirement) plans should be treated the same," the official said.

Get that? We'll be paying more, but it's not an increase. And that
fee on new tires? Not a tax. In fact you can only charge it if the state can charge tax on the rest of the purchase; if not, no fee. Who is therefore exempt? "Agencies and instrumentalities of the United States... Agencies, instrumentalities, public corporations, or political subdivisions of the State of New Jersey..." Great shock there.

How about gasoline? Yeah,
we'd like some (more) of the action.

Imagine strolling into your office and saying, "Hey, boss, my rent and food costs are up this year, so if you don't mind, I'm raising my pay another two bucks an hour. And I'll be charging overtime while I'm getting coffee in the morning. It would be nice if you started to reimburse me for my commute, too, since it's technically a business-related travel expense." Sure, and don't get a paper cut from the pink slip.

Dare I suggest that our legislators stop giving us the same speech every year? Guys, you spent
over $25 billion last year... You think that perhaps you could scrape by with $20 or $21 billion this time? Remind me again about "tax cuts for the rich" when this state is one million times wealthier than someone who makes $25,000 per year - a person to whom a few hundred dollars makes a difference.

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