News and Tribune


October 10, 2012



Everyone pays taxes

I have been listening to the discussion about Mitt Romney’s statement that 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes.

What Romney failed to mention is that federal income taxes are only one type of taxes paid by Americans. There are dozens of income and “nonincome” taxes every American pays. They cost a significant percentage of poor and middle class incomes to pay them. I have listened to pundits from both ends of the political spectrum. I have heard nothing about the other taxes you and I pay. Some of these taxes are also called “fees,” “tolls,” “permits” or “licenses.” Here is only a partial list: building permits; CDL licenses; cigarette taxes; dog licenses; Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA); fishing licenses; fuel permit taxes; gasoline taxes; hunting license; liquor taxes; local income taxes; marriage licenses; Medicare taxes; personal property taxes; real estate taxes; septic permit fees; Social Security taxes; road usage taxes (truckers); sales taxes; road, tunnel and bridge tolls; school book and lunch fees; state income taxes; State Unemployment Taxes (SUTA); numerous types of telephone federal and state excise taxes, usages charges and fees; vehicle, RV and trailer registration fees; utility taxes; vehicle excise taxes; watercraft registration taxes and worker’s compensation taxes.

Some of these taxes are not collected in every state. One thing for certain, the less money you make, the larger percentage of your income it takes to pay them. Some families living on $10 to $15 per hour, pay these taxes, put food on the table, fuel in their vehicles and provide a roof over their heads. The reason many Americans don’t pay federal income taxes is because a fair tax system recognizes that when you make $10 to $15 per hour, pay the other taxes and provide for your family, you don’t have anything left to pay.

The truly sad part about Romney’s “47 percent” statement, is that he ignores the fact that all Americans pay these other taxes. These taxes help fund our schools, build our roads, protect our environment, put police officers on our streets and pay for many more governmental services.

Romney made $20 million in one year. These taxes are not on his radar screen, because it takes a fraction of 1 percent of that $20 million to pay them. When I consider Romney’s view, I cannot help but think his “47 percent” may be facing “taxation without representation.”   

— Gordon Ingle, Corydon

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