There is no way I owe that much

Published 9:36 am Monday, April 23, 2018

By Bobby Tingle


Last week’s column, Pay your taxes and stop complaining, generated several conversations.

Essentially, the gist of it is this; we are required to pay taxes without representation. We should have solved this problem with the Boston Tea Party and the subsequent revolution. Our departure from the oversight of the mother country brought welcome relief from their burdensome impositions. The high brows across the pond were willing to take our money, to suppress our hopes, our dreams and our plans. All for the sake of padding their pockets or funding their pet projects.

How dare they.

Then we went back to sleep. Now we are right back where we were in seventeen seventy something.

Now, the high brows are all in Washington D.C. The boys and girls in D. C. are just as detached from reality and those they tax as the Brits were.

The sad part is we allowed it. Now we willingly participate day by day.

My contention is we should wait until December 31 of each year and meet with our city council person to pay our taxes for the year.

Does the thought send shivers up your spine? Does it make your hair on the back of your neck stiffen?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Childs, Mello, Pullen, Pernell, Salter or Spears are evil people or would do you or I harm.

No, but the amount of money you would bring them at the end of the year might.

Let’s do a quick calculation to determine what the amount might be.

We will base our rough and rugged estimate on a family with an income of $50,000 per year living in a house with an assessed value of $100,000.

It doesn’t matter if they own the house our rent it, they still pay the property taxes. Using round numbers we will assess a rate of $2 per hundred dollars in assessed value for a total annual property tax due of $2,000.

Next, we will estimate their sales tax. If they spend $100 per week on going out to eat and on miscellaneous items then their annual spending will be $5,200. At a tax rate of 8.25% at the end of the year they will need to add $442 to the total.

Sub-total so far is $2,442.

Every family drives a car. Every car needs gasoline and since none of us refine our own when we pay at the pump. You can pay at the window but most pay at the pump. Our typical family drives enough to use ten gallons of gas per week. At a rate of $2.399 per gallon they pay $24 per week for gas. If the tax portion is 25% then their total gasoline tax due is $312 per year.

Sub-total now is $2,754.

Sharpen your pencil because it gets tricky from here, because now we are going to come up with the amount they owe to the high brows in Washington D. C.

We must be crazy for going here.

The boys and girls up there decided to give us a break this year so we will use the new numbers.

They take theirs off the top, before we get it, for FICA, or social security and Medicare, 7.65%. In our case roughly $73.56 per week.

Now, it gets complicated.

By the way, our family is a married husband and wife with 1.9 children.

The first $24,000 of their income is tax-free. (Tax-free is double talk, after all we just went over the amount of sales tax, gasoline tax and FICA they will pay).

So their tax rate of 12% only applies to the other $26,000 they earned.

The total due is $115.38 per week.

But they get credits for their children, investments and whatever else their tax preparer discovers. For our purposes let’s say they get half of the total back as a tax refund.

Their total annual income tax due is $1,560.

Fortunately, they live in Texas where you don’t pay taxes on income or groceries.

So the grand total is, (imagine an intense drum roll in the background), $4,314.

Not bad, right?

Now we write the check and give it to Childs, Mello, Pullen, Pernell, Salter or Spears and let them decide how much should go to the county, the state and the high brows in Washington D. C.

I bet when you hand your councilperson the check you are likely to let them know what a great job they are doing. I bet they will be much more careful than the boys and girls spending it now.

And I bet when you say to them, ‘no way I owe that much,’ they will be more attentive than anyone in D.C.


Bobby Tingle is publisher of The Orange Leader. You can reach him at