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NothingRight Donating Member (100 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 02:24 AM
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The dichotomy of tax policy
Lots of talk about tax policy lately. Tax cuts for the wealthy extended in December to maintain tax rates for the less fortunate and to extend unemployment benefits. Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations proposed in the GOP Budget proposal. Changes in tax policy and the tax code proposed by the President today in his debt reduction plan.

As a hardcore supporter of eliminating tax loopholes and asking the most fortunate people to help out the society that has granted them such fortune in its time of need, I have always backed the idea that if I were lucky enough to pay thousands a year in taxes, I would write the check with a smile on my face.

After all, I have been paying for car insurance now for almost 25 years, and I have had one accident that was 100% the fault of the other driver, so my insurance did not pay a dime. By now, I should be able to stop paying for at least several years until I get closer to even, right?

During the day, my wife and I manage a small business that has been operating for over 25 years. I handle the business office (payroll, billing, accounting, HR, etc) and she handles the marketing and client relations.

Today was tax day for us, and when the owner of the company called to tell me we owed, well, let's say it was a five digit number, my instant reaction was disbelief and frustration.

We have spent the last two years climbing out of the hole created by the collapse of the economy, coupled with some bad business practices of our predecessors. We have done so by making sound fiscal decisions and balancing what we needed to cut, what we needed to invest, and what we needed to do to increase revenue.

By balancing those three items, we have turned things around and had a fantastic last half of last year. Going into this year we gave staff that had hung in there with us long overdue pay raises, we started a new health care plan that we contribute half of the premiums for, and invested in some seriously needed new computers (which I have spent the last 48 hours installing and networking).

I had talked the talk about partnering with our staff and how to effectively balance the role of "management" with the integral part that "operations" staff plays in the success of any business, now I was doing my part to make sure we walked the walk.

Now, after finally building up a safety net and not hoping the invoices are paid before payroll is due, we are hit with this bill.

After I was done with the vulgarities, I met with the owner to discuss the strategy to make sure this didn't happen to us again this year. I suggested we look at investments that would be free from taxes........and that's when it hit me.

Not only was I not smiling to write the check, I was looking for ways to make sure we didn't pay next year.

In that brief moment, I put our selfish needs ahead of our responsibility to the society that granted us this prosperity, and I justified to myself why it is so critical that any loopholes in the tax code are closed.

Perhaps if we had 100% compliance in tax payments we would be able to lower the tax rate, since we all would be truly sharing in the responsibility, each according to their ability to pay, not their ability to find tax shelters.

As I cut the checks to pay our tax bill, I did end up smiling. But the smile was because I had not sold my soul to the almighty dollar, and relief that I worked for an organization that shares my conviction.

Hope is still alive, and I still believe.
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