Archive for the taxes Category

Fourth strike for Hagan

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, Politics, taxes, Transportation with tags , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Hillsborough County Commissioner Ken Hagan is batting zero in his attempts at hitting a task force home run.

His Transportation Task Force was formed to recommend a Choo-Choo for Tampa.

His I-4 Task Force was formed to recommend paving over east county farmlands at taxpayer expense.

His Economic Development Taskforce was formed to recommend tax breaks for Bass Pro Shop.

Now he wants an Economic Prosperity Stakeholders Task Force formed to recommend taxpayers footing the bills for new roads, sewers, water, and fire and police services in order to “attract new business”.

 All these task forces have simply cost taxpayers a ton of money in outside consultants’ fees.

To paraphrases a line from the movie Blazing Saddles: “We don’t need no stinking task forces.”

Commissioner Sandra Murman didn’t need a task force to start a very successful incentive program to encourage the actual creation of new jobs.

But then maybe we should save Hagan the time, expense and embarrassment of another failed task force and just give him a walk on this one?

After all, according to Hagan, with all the tax and fee cuts already approved by the BOCC over the past few years, The County isn’t bringing in much money from new businesses anyway, so what’s to lose?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Pony first; cart after

Posted in Economic Development, Hillsborough County, FL, taxes, Transportation with tags , , , , , , on March 4, 2012 by

Don’t blame over-burdened, under-employed Hillsborough County residents for the lack of infrastructure in downtown Tampa.

The first to benefit would be downtown businesses and land owners; they should be the first to pony up.

They are the private part of public/private partnerships still sitting on the sidelines waiting for the taxpaying public to load the carts for them.

Once the promised high-wage, good-benefit, full-time jobs materialize, the newly employed will shop, eat, play and live downtown.

Their taxes will then also help fund teachers, police, firefighters and public works.

Pony first; cart after.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

None dare call it treason

Posted in Alternative Energy, News, Politics, taxes on March 1, 2012 by

A perverse irony of “free market” capitalism is being exposed.

How do our ultra-right, fiscally-conservative governmental toadies justify forcing private citizens to buy a nuclear power plant for a for-profit company such as Progress Energy?

 Progress Energy functions as a state-sponsored monopoly. Citizens in their service area can only buy electricity from Progress; at rates dictated by Florida lawmakers. Additionally those citizens are being forced to pay for a new nuclear power plant so as to protect the profits given to Progress owners.

How is this different than if The State of Florida gave Ford Motor Company exclusive rights to sell only their cars in Central Florida? Not only would we be forced to buy Ford cars, at prices set by The State, we would also be taxed to pay for any new auto plants Ford wanted to build.

 This is not capitalism, it is called corporatism
and yet none dare call it treason.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Online Tax Rebellion

Posted in Hillsborough County, FL, Opinion, taxes with tags , , , , , on February 22, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Thanks to the Tampa Tribune for pointing out the absurdity of 50 states (let alone 3,000 counties and 30,000 incorporated municipalities) each trying to collect sales taxes from online merchants. is the Big Dawg out there, and an easy target.

What about the countless other businesses and individuals selling online now but not collecting and remitting sales taxes?

The Florida Use Tax on residents isn’t working.

Maybe it is time to get serious about a national Value Added Tax (VAT).

However, the last time we tried something like that, George Washington wound up leading a federalized militia force of 12,950 men into western Pennsylvania in October 1794 to put down what became known as the Whiskey Rebellion when citizens refused to pay a similar tax.

Do we really want Obama marching on Tallahassee, and how would Hillsborough get its “Half-Penny for Raymond James Stadium”?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Stop exporting U.S. Gasoline

Posted in Alternative Energy, Job-creators, Opinion, Politics, Second American Revolution, taxes with tags , , , , on February 21, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel are now this country’s largest export.

That’s right.

In 2011, oil refiners in the United States exported an estimated 117 million gallons per day of gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other petroleum products worth $88 billion. 

These fuels are being sold on the “world market” because there is insufficient demand in the U.S. due ironically, to rising gas prices and higher-mileage vehicles being sold.

The Keystone Pipeline, environmental issues not withstanding, would be good for the Canadian oil export companies and good for the U.S. gasoline exporting companies but would have little lasting value to the average citizen.

That oil, once refined in the Gulf states would be sold as gasoline to South America, not North America.

The same issues involve additional oil drilling in the U.S. All that excess gasoline produce would be sold and shipped out of the United Sates, thereby keeping U.S. gas prices high.

Until our benighted elected government representatives ban all exports of U.S. produced oil products, we will have ever higher gas prices at the pumps and see ever higher, obscene profits going to oil companies.

What about it Congress?

Care to pass a law protecting The People of the United States of America instead of the oil companies?

What we have are war-mongering congressmen beating the drums for conflict with Iran, and shutting down their oil production just to further increase the “world market” for gasoline and increase oil companies profits.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

On the level?

Posted in Opinion, Politics, taxes with tags , , on February 17, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

black hole moneyThe Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee is pushing for a sales tax on e-commerce to “level the playing field” so that online retailers do not have an unfair tax advantage over in-state brick-and-mortar retailers.

Well and good, supposing that the state can figure out to collect it voluntarily from out of state companies, when the state cannot even collect online sales taxes from existing Florida tax laws.

It is projected that this could bring an additional $454 million into the state to pay for things like education, highways and health care.

But no; Senate Republicans want to declare a $454 million tax “holiday”, giving Florida retailers a huge advantage over e-commerce businesses.

How is this a “level playing field”?

How does this balance the budget; reduce the deficit?

How does this help Florida provide services to its citizens?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Prisons for Profit

Posted in Job-creators, Second American Revolution, taxes, Tea Party with tags , , on February 13, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Did the Tampa Bay Times edit out Brad Swanson’s reasons why Florida is spending too much on prisons?

He says we need to do “something different” to cure recidivism, but he doesn’t say how privatizing prisons is the answer.

He says that privatizing prisons will save taxpayers 7%, but doesn’t say how these companies can operate the prisons with less money, and still squeeze out new profits.

He says that existing correctional officers won’t lose their jobs, but doesn’t say what those new jobs will pay, or what benefits they will have to give up.

Without these answers included in his comments, it appears that this plan is designed only to enrich investors at the expense of the rest of us.

Has anyone thought about first trying to fix what we have before we hand off it off to someone else wanting to profit on what we should be able to do better ourselves?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

The insidious nature of vouchers

Posted in Opinion, Second American Revolution, taxes with tags , on February 6, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

Voucher programs are touted by fiscal conservatives as panaceas for the costs of public education and universal health care. In realty, what will be created are systems that subsidize the well-off at the expense of the less-well-off.

Public schools receive our tax dollars based on student attendance. If fewer students are attending those public schools, the money received by those schools is thereby reduced. They cannot charge more per pupil to make up for the loss. Schools, as each of us, have both variable and fixed expenses. When our own incomes go down we have to cut back where we can, but we still need the basics of food and shelter. Likewise with schools, which can layoff some teachers, have to maintain the physical plant regardless of the number of students attending.

Enter charter schools, education voucher programs and investor profits. Students can leave the public school system and attend a charter school, taking with them those tax-funded dollars. Charter schools may be able to operate on that money by not having to comply with certain governmental mandates required of public schools; charge more per pupil, and/or rely on tax credits such as the New Markets tax credit passed in 2000 by congress that allows enormous federal tax credits to banks and equity funds that invest in community projects in underserved communities. So even if a charter school program is run as a not-for-profit, the investors reap huge profits on the building. Parents, who cannot afford to pay the difference between a voucher and the tuition at a highly rated charter school, must keep their children in under-funded public schools, while their tax dollars fund vouchers for well-off families to pay for tuitions they already pay because they can afford private schools for their children. The tax dollars of the less well-off also go into the pockets of charter school investors.

Enter the health care voucher program. Seniors now can get Medicare benefits thanks to contributions made by them during their working life. People, who can afford it, buy their own health care. With a voucher system, those well-off people receive what amounts to a subsidy for health care insurance they already purchase. Less well-off seniors would have to supplement whatever voucher money they would receive to pay to for-profit insurance companies operating under no pricing or benefit regulations. Vouchers for the well-off would be funded in part by taxes on the less well-off.

Continuing this trend, we have privatized prisons taking our tax dollars to fund for-profit operations; and we have highly-paid mercenaries from for-profit companies providing security services at several overseas locations such as Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Our whole system of governmental protections; health, education, welfare and even national security seems to be moving inextricably into the hands of investors and their for-profit enterprises.

Is our “of the people, by the people, for the people” simply being reduced to “what the traffic will bear”?

Corporate America is turning our nation into America, Incorporated.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

The planet Scott

Posted in taxes with tags , , , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

No online Sales taxFlorida Governor Rick Scott says he wants a “revenue-neutral level playing field” when it comes to collecting sales taxes for both online and brick-and-mortar retail sales.

But, instead of everyone paying the same tax on the same items, thereby adding to badly needed state tax revenues, Scott wants to collect up to one billion dollars in new online taxes so that he can REDUCE offline taxes by the same amount.

Not only is this plan not “on the level”, it is not well thought out.

Scott and the rest of his Tallahassee toadies demonstrate no clue how to actually collect sales taxes from online, out of state companies.

They don’t even know how to collect online sales taxes already required of Florida residents.

Also, if The State collects 6% online sales taxes, what about counties such as Hillsborough which need a few extra pennies to pay for things like stadiums for the Bucs (and maybe the Rays)?

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen

Florida’s real scofflaws

Posted in taxes with tags , , , on January 27, 2012 by verbumsapienti2

It is well established that the Commerce Clause and Due Process Clause of the U.S. Constitution require that there be a nexus between the taxing state and the vendor of goods or services, in the form of a physical presence because collecting sales taxes on so-called remote transactions unconstitutionally would burden interstate commerce.

Yet, the state of Florida has a taxing statute which requires Florida residents to pay a “Use Tax” which normally applies to items purchased outside Florida, including another country, which are brought or delivered into this state and would have been taxed if purchased in Florida.

The use tax rate is the same as the sales tax rate, 6%.

So, instead of going after online companies such as Amazon who’s employees do not use Florida’s streets, schools or fire protection, go after the Florida scofflaws who buy on the internet, cheat on their taxes and shift the tax burden to the rest of us.

To submit your return and payment by mail,
download Form DR-15MO and pay by check.

 Better yet, go after Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, Inc. (MERS) which registers the majority of Florida’s real-estate transactions in its own name, thus avoiding paying county transfer fees each time a home mortgage changes hands.

Mortgage investors rake in billions; for Florida’s 67 counties that revenue loss is staggering.

<IMHO> Fred Jacobsen


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