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Trenton’s Broken Record

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Trenton’s Broken Record
Jun. 19  
By Joe Sinagra | The Save Jersey Blog

“This plan is not only a matter of fairness and responsibility with pension payments, it is really about the full range of government services and opportunities, including such things as property tax relief, college affordability, public schools, law enforcement, transportation and many more priority needs,” NJ Senate President Steve Sweeney said on Wednesday as he rolled out his counter-proposal to Governor Chris Christie’s budget. “We have to maintain the state’s commitment to all New Jersey residents by meeting all of our commitments. This is a fair and responsible plan that will help meet those needs as it restores balance to the budget in a fiscally responsible way.”

So in all the years and administrations prior to Christie being governor, the 154 tax increases, raising the state sales tax from 6% to 7%, a 4% corporate tax surcharge, a 25% increase in liquor taxes, increased taxes for the citizens of New Jersey by over $10 billion dollars, an increase in the Realty Transfer Tax of $62 million on the state level, another $22 million on the county level, along with another $8 million tax on the lottery. . . Senator Sweeney now suddenly believes we need a fair and responsible plan?

What happened to all of the revenue that was already collected?

Even the promised tax rebate disappeared. On average, property taxes went up 55 percent statewide from the prior seven years before Corzine and another 20 percent when Corzine took office, and Corzine left us a $2.2 billion shortfall that existed when Christie took office on Jan. 19, 2010.

And Senator Sweeney decides now is the time to meet the commitments of the residents? Why is it that more is never enough in this state?

– See more at: http://savejersey.com/2014/06/new-jersey-budget-sweeney/#sthash.VrJfTZ1d.dpuf

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Federal Tax Revenues Set Record Through May; Feds Still Running $436B Deficit

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Federal Tax Revenues Set Record Through May; Feds Still Running $436B Deficit
June 12, 2014 – 11:20 AM\
By Terence P. Jeffrey\

( CNSNews.com) – Federal tax revenues continue to run at a record pace (in inflation-adjusted dollars) in fiscal 2014, as the federal government’s total receipts for the fiscal year closed May at an unprecedented $1,934,919,000,000, according to the Monthly Treasury Statement.

Despite record revenue, the federal government still ran a deficit of $436.382 billion in the first eight months of the fiscal year, which began on Oct. 1, 2013 and will end on Sept. 30, 2014.

In the month of May alone, the federal government ran a deficit of $129.971 billion–bringing in $199.889 billion in revenue while spending $329.860 billion.

The White House Office of Management and Budget has estimated that in the full fiscal 2014, the federal government will collect $3.001721 trillion in taxes, spend $3.650526 trillion, running a deficit of $648.805 billion..

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/federal-tax-revenues-set-record-through-may-feds-still-running-436b

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Obamacare Taxes: Next Filing Season Could Be “one of the most chaotic in years.”

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Obamacare Taxes: Next Filing Season Could Be “one of the most chaotic in years.”
Posted by John Kartch on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014, 10:25 AM 

Problems with a key component of Obamacare will lead to unpleasant surprises for Americans during the 2015 tax filing season, according to testimony from a top tax expert before the House Ways and Means subcommittees on Health and Oversight today.

“I am here today to tell you that the upcoming tax filing season has the potential to be one of the most chaotic in years,” said Ryan Ellis, an IRS Enrolled Agent and Tax Policy Director at Americans for Tax Reform.

According to the testimony:

“One of the key elements of the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as “Obamacare,” is the creation of advanceable tax credits for the purchase of exchange health insurance plans. 

Taxpayers applying for credit assistance must be evaluated by government entities ranging from the SSA to CMS to the IRS.  The goal is to have an educated estimate, based on the most immediately-available government documents (e.g. prior year tax returns, etc.), of the taxpayer’s probable income for the year–which in turn determines the size of the tax credit. 

In an effort to get this tax benefit out quickly, the estimated credit is advanced to the insurance company by the IRS, which applies it to customer premiums. 

This is an important point—the money has left the IRS’ hands up to over a year before the taxpayer actually calculates his final credit amount.  The insurance companies have collected it, and they are not required to pay it back. 

Press reports this month indicated that the government was having a hard time doing all this, with 1.2 million of the 6 million federal exchange applicants having to be asked for additional income verification information from CMS.   That is not surprising.   Applicants are asked to complete a detailed, confusing twelve-page application which asks for income, family size, etc.  It is rather like trying to fill out a 1040 on the fly.  Added to this is the lack of employer reporting requirements and the failure to complete the back-end of the web site. 

Inconsistencies–some of which are the result of failures of the healthcare.gov system, some of which are poor records from the government, and some of which are mistakes from the individual–are not surprising.  But they are a problem.  It is the middle of June, and many people have now been receiving inaccurate subsidies for six months.  To the public’s knowledge, not a single advanced tax credit has been adjusted this year.

So what happens if the flawed, confusing process results in a tax credit larger than what the law calls for?

A hypothetical example might help illustrate: a health exchange customer selects an Obamacare exchange plan.  The government estimates that this taxpayer will earn $30,000 this year, which makes her eligible for a $2000 tax credit.  This $2000 is paid to the taxpayer’s insurance company to help with premiums. 

The next spring, our customer/taxpayer is filling out her tax return.  Unfortunately, the government estimated the taxpayer earned too little and paid too large a credit.  She actually earned $40,000, and so only had a $1500 credit coming to her. 

Depending on the taxpayer’s income level and availability of verified affordable workplace insurance, she will have to pay back much or all of the $500 overage to the IRS.  This means skinnier refunds and maybe even liabilities, and it won’t be the taxpayer’s fault—it will be the government’s fault.

It is also inevitable that many people are receiving tax credits for which they are completely ineligible.  The firewall of the offer of employer sponsored insurance is a new concept — tax preparers will have difficulty figuring out how it works in operation. There is virtually no way to catch it on the front end — but come tax filing season, many people will end up owing thousands of dollars, and it will be a complete surprise.”

Read more: http://www.atr.org/obamacare-taxes-next-filing-season-could-be-one-most-chaotic-years#ixzz34GoCXtfu 

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This Graphic On People Moving Due to Taxes Is Essential Viewing For Every Politician In America

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This Graphic On People Moving Due to Taxes Is Essential Viewing For Every Politician In America

The question of whether taxes affect behavior has long been debated by economists and ignored by most politicians.

This graphic by How Money Walks answers the question. The sourcedata- from the IRS- shows the changes in each state’s total adjusted gross income of taxpayers who’ve moved either in or out.

The states with the highest income taxes have had a net loss in taxpayer AGI of $107 billion, and the the states with no income tax have had a net gain of $146 billion. In other words, there’s been an exodus from high tax states to those with no taxes. The ultimate voting right: with one’s feet.

http://www.ijreview.com/2014/05/142898-graphic-people-moving-due-taxes-essential-viewing-every-politician-america/

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The Ridgewood Taxpayers’ Association is looking to reactivate

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The Ridgewood Taxpayers’ Association is looking to reactivate

The Ridgewood Taxpayers’ Association is a non-profit corporation organized in the state of New Jersey in 1993 .

The purposes of the Ridgewood Taxpayers’ Association are as follows :

*To monitor and analyze of the Village and Board of Education ;

*To provide recommendations to the Village and BOE on how to operate
on a cost effective basis ;

*To monitor the actions taken by the state of New Jersey , Bergen County
the BOE and any governmental entity which has or may have an impact
on the taxes of the Village of Ridgewood ;

*To provide information to the citizens of the Village of Ridgewood on
the operation of their government and costs associated therewith :

*To promote local, regional and state legislation for the fair
taxation of Ridgewood residents ;

*To evaluate candidates for public office .

Membership is available to residents of Ridgewood or anyone who
maintains a business address in the Village of Ridgewood .

The Ridgewood Taxpayers’ Association is looking for Board Members and
those interested should email there resume and a short cover letter to: [email protected]

1-800-PetMeds Private Label

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Christie Embraces Irresponsible Spending says credit agencies are the ‘same group of folks who allowed the financial crisis to occur’

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Christie Embraces Irresponsible Spending says credit agencies are the ‘same group of folks who allowed the financial crisis to occur’

TRENTON – Don’t put too much stock in those Wall Street rating agency downgrades, says Gov. Chris Christie.

The governor, whose administration has been at the helm during six credit rating downgrades over the course of his tenure to date, says he’s not worried about additional downgrades. Christie said he finds it interesting they “continue to downgrade the people who try to act responsibly,” but added he doesn’t live in fear of rating agencies.

“No, I don’t fear it,” he said Wednesday during a Statehouse news conference.

“This is the same group of folks who allowed the financial crisis to occur,” he said, arguing they “sat on their hands collecting huge fees” from clients during the financial collapse and essentially got paid “to look the other way,” he said.

“I don’t know how much credibility these places have,” Christie said.  (Arco/PolitickerNJ)

Christie says credit agencies are the ‘same group of folks who allowed the financial crisis to occur’ | Politicker NJ

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Its all about “fees” Christie changes course on fee hikes

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Its all about “fees” Christie changes course on fee hikes

Everything but spending cuts

MAY 12, 2014, 10:29 PM    LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, MAY 12, 2014, 10:29 PM
BY JOHN REITMEYER
STATE HO– USE BUREAU
THE RECORD

Two months ago, Governor Christie proposed a $34.4 billion budget, promising “no new taxes on the people of New Jersey.”

Now his administration is detailing nearly two dozen fees and fines that he wants increased — none of which was made public at the time.

The tax policy changes would increase revenue for five different state departments.

They include boosting the $2 fee added to motor vehicle fines to fund the state’s forensic DNA lab by 75 cents. The fingerprint fees for non-criminal background checks would go from $30 to $45.

Home improvement contractors would be forced to pay $110 instead of $90 to register with the state, and $90 instead of $75 to renew their registration.

The state’s Division Alcoholic Beverage Control, which regulates the sale of alcohol in New Jersey, would also increase fees across the board, according to Christie’s proposal.

For state taxpayers and businesses, the new fee and fine hikes — 23 in all, according to information made public last week by the state Department of Treasury — would mean giving more money to Trenton. But for Christie, a Republican seen as a possible contender for his party’s 2016 presidential nomination, the increases might pose a political problem.

He frequently and very publicly attacks Democrats for raising fees and taxes — including many of the same lawmakers he now needs to pass this budget.

And even as Democrats have questioned Christie’s proposal, which would bring in an estimated $32 million in new revenue, the governor is blaming the Democrats for having to hike the fees and fines in the first place.

“Quite frankly, I’ve had my teeth kicked in by this administration that we’ve raised taxes 115 times,” said Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, when the issue came up during a meeting Thursday. “We’ve all been kicked around about how many taxes and fee increases we’ve voted on it recent years.”

After the meeting, Sarlo said it will take Republican votes to get the increases Christie wants adopted to balance his budget.

– See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/news/christie-changes-course-on-fee-hikes-1.1014656#sthash.YpAsjTuy.dpuf

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Reader says Allowing people and companies to continue to deduct their donations allowed them to commit fraud for years without realizing it

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Reader says Allowing people and companies to continue to deduct their donations allowed them to commit fraud for years without realizing it

The IRS site says that as of March 15, 2011, it revoked the tax-exempt status of organizations that had not filed for AT LEAST 3 consecutive years. Since taxes are not due until April, that means 2010 didn’t count. The three years would have been 2007-09. But there is no way of knowing when they last filed properly. Even RBSA may not know, since the CPA who fled without warning was apparently the only accountant in the state.

This is worse than sloppiness. Allowing people and companies to continue to deduct their donations allowed them to commit fraud for years without realizing it. A group too busy “helping the kids have fun” to control its finances should not be sitting on giant nest eggs.

1-800-PetMeds Private Label

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RBSA Financial Practices Questioned

RBSA Financial Practices Questioned

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The letter was sent to the Ridgewood News by email on Sunday afternoon, May 4. On Monday morning the paper called to confirm that I had sent it and wanted it published. I said yes.

Late Wednesday morning, the three candidates for council received an email message from Ed Virgin, editor of the paper, stating that the volume of letters this week had been so great that the usual noon (Wed.) deadline had had to be cut off a little early. However, he added, anything received before late Wednesday morning (May 7) would be published.

Well, mine wasn’t. Gee.

Too late now.

I called Ed but his phone message said he was out until Monday and not listening to voice mail. Thanks for your objectivity, local newspaper!

Here’s the letter:

RBSA Financial Practices Questioned

Ridgewood News readers deserve to know about an important issue raised at the League of Women Voters Candidates’ Debate on April 29 but omitted from last week’s article on that event (“Race for Two Seats Heats Up,” May 2).

According to public records, the Ridgewood Baseball and Softball Association failed to file federal tax returns for at least 3 consecutive years during Village Council candidate James Albano’s long and continuing tenure as RBSA president. As a result, the group’s tax-exempt status was revoked by the Internal Revenue Service on March 15, 2011.

This suggests that appropriate papers have not been filed for at least 7 or 8 years and that contributions have not been legally tax deductible for several years.

Questions emerge:

Why did this happen? Was it deliberate, or sloppy bookkeeping?

In either case, how might RBSA’s financial practices reflect on Mr. Albano’s ability to serve on the Village Council, which oversees a vastly larger budget?

How much money does the RBSA have and where does it go?

Since RBSA activities heavily use tax-supported fields owned by the Village and Board of Education, might an audit of RBSA’s financial records by the Village be warranted?

Were corporate and individual donors to RBSA informed in a timely way in 2011 and every year since that they could no longer deduct donations from their taxes without violating federal law?

Do any individuals profit from RBSA’s summer baseball clinics conducted on taxpayer-owned property? Might an expansion of the summer clinics be one reason RBSA has pushed so hard to flatten the Schedler property in exchange for a 90-foot baseball field that its neighbors and countless other residents adamantly do not want?

At the debate, Mr. Albano denied being “the sports candidate,” a term no one but him had used that night. Interestingly, a message sent to the RBSA email list last month under the subject line “Albano for Council!” by Gary Muzio, RBSA’s “2014 Commissioner” and a leader of the summer clinics, stated: “While he [Mr. Albano] is not just the ‘sports candidate,’ the issue of the badly needed 90′ field, along with an all purpose field (read: soccer & lax) at Schedler is certainly a timely issue here.”

The assumption that RBSA had tax-exempt status and was therefore prohibited from any political activity, including endorsing candidates for local elections, led to a simple search for confirmation on the excellent IRS website, which quickly revealed the March 2011 revocation.

Might RBSA therefore use its email list for political activity, after all? Consider another factor beyond IRS regulations. The Village and Board of Education, recognizing the RBSA as a nonprofit entity (is it so registered?), have granted it the privilege of being cosponsored by the Village Parks and Recreation Department and Community School. Is it appropriate for a Village/Board of Education-cosponsored athletic organization (given priority in the use of tax-supported fields) to endorse a candidate for public office?

Marcia Ringel
Ridgewood

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US: Two Views of Declining Labor Force Participation

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US: Two Views of Declining Labor Force Participation

Ridgewood NJ, Here is an interesting economics view of the US labor force participation decline from head economist at Citi.  

The interesting thing is that there are quite a few forces at work; older population, kids staying in school longer or going for higher degrees, women opting out, etc.  Most important is the last point, the BLS projects it will continue to decline for another 10 years.


US: Two Views of Declining Labor Force Participation


1●It’s Temporary. Drop in labor force participation (LFPR) since 2007 reveals cyclical effect of unemployment previously masked by dominant demographics and too brief recessions.
–Downturn in LFPR associated with surge in long-term unemployed
–Correlation at state level between rising unemployment and falling LFPR.
–Large increase in discouraged workers, non-participants who want a job.
–Job-finding rates fell proportionately for recent and long-term jobless.
●Delayed response (increase) to falling unemployment implies that LFPR will rise strongly for several years after the economy reaches full employment.

2-●No, it’s Permanent. Major part of LFPR drop reflects mix of demographic, structural and other policy effects that may be only partially reversed over only a very long period.
–Population shifting to less-attached cohorts, including older, still prime-age workers.
–LFPR among prime-age women falling since 2000, high marginal tax rates at low incomes.
–Rising education enrollment.
–Accelerating trend in disabilities suggests more permanent hysteresis effect.
–Recent declines in discouraged workers and ‘not in labor force who want a job’

BLS projects that LFPR will decline another 1.5 percentage points by 2022.