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Our Opinion: Celebrate Tax Freedom Day: You earned it

Today is Tax Freedom Day in Missouri.

As calculated by the Tax Foundation, April 8 marks the day Missourians have earned enough to pay this year’s federal, state and local tax obligations.

Missourians fare better than the national average. Tax Freedom Day nationwide will not be celebrated until April 18 this year.

“This year, Americans will work five days later than in 2012 to pay all of their taxes,” said William McBride, a Tax Foundation economist. “The total tax bill at all levels comes to approximately $4.2 trillion, or 29.4 percent of their total income,” he added. “That means Americans will pay more in taxes in 2013 than they will spend on food, clothing, and housing combined.”

The foundation points out the total tax burden varies among the states, based on differing tax policies and the progressive nature of the federal tax system.

Tax Freedom Day comes later for higher income states, including: Connecticut on May 13; New York on May 6; and New Jersey on May 4.

In contrast, the date already has passed for other states, including:

Mississippi and Louisiana, both on March 29; and Tennessee on April 2.

In addition to geographic differences, Tax Freedom Day has fluctuated throughout the years.

The latest Tax Freedom Day occurred May 1, 2000, the foundation reports, when Americans paid one third of their earnings in taxes.

A century earlier, in 1900, the observance was celebrated on Jan. 22, signifying Americans paid less than 6 percent of their income in taxes.

The foundation also breaks down taxation by type. Among the five major categories that dominate the tax burden: Individual income taxes — federal, state and local — account for 40 days of work; payroll taxes, 24 days; sales and excise taxes, 15 days; property taxes, 12 days; and corporate income taxes, nine days.

Tax Freedom Day can be viewed from geographical, chronological and/or categorical perspectives.

And whether you consider the observance aggravating, liberating or both, remember you earned it.

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