Thursday, April 16, 2015

All Others Pay Cash

Is there any chance you forgot that yesterday was the last day to file your Federal income taxes (unless you had requested an extension)? It’s not nearly as dramatic when you add the part in the parenthesis, is it? And considering how much lead time you have on the federal filing deadline (and I think it’s true for state and municipal as well), it’s not like the calendar stole a march on you, right?

I can remember our Dad, who worked in New  York City and took the train (Pennsylvania, then later the Penn-Central and even later Amtrak) from New Jersey every day, having to file federal as well as State and City of New York tax reports. He wasn’t alone, joined by tens of thousands from places across Jersey and, back in the day, Connecticut Gold Coasters as well.

Commuters like Dad were heaven-sent for states and cities scrounging for revenue-he used none of the goods and services he was helping to pay for and they needed all the help they could get. I don’t remember if he was still riding the train into The City when New Jersey finally got around to enacting a state income tax under Brendan Byrne in 1976 (I always thought it was earlier than that; must be getting old (for which I am most grateful)).     

Every state has a “tax freedom date” that changes, rarely for the better, annually. Here in The Land of Steady Habits, Connecticut, it’s Wednesday, May 13th (which folks on all sides of the political aisle will talk about all the way to it, and past it, if history is any indicator). Your mileage may vary but the rending of garments in anguish and despair accompanied by loud lamentations probably not so much. 

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., once offered ‘taxes are what we pay for a civilized society,’ but in light of decades of national dysfunction, you might want to rummage around and see if you saved your receipt to ask about a refund.

Figured you could use a smile today, especially if you did wait until the last minute to file. I could also offer you John Oliver’s observations, which are not only brilliantly hilarious but also spot-on. Try not to laugh too hard, it can tax your breathing. 
-bill kenny

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