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Monday, December 19, 2011

Y times Z times 1 1/2 equals 0

No, this isn't some new math formula pulled from one of my daughter's homework assignments.

This is a math formula that was pulled from this year's state budget.

For those of you who are unfortunate enough to live in Connecticut, what I'm about to say is depressingly familiar, so please bear with me as I bring everyone else up to speed.

This year we elected a Democratic guv'nor who promised that he would find a way to balance a budget that was dripping 3 billion dollars in red ink. He did it with very modest spending cuts (big surprise there) and very heavy tax increases (no surprise there).

One of the taxes that he decided to increase was the state income tax, which he made effective this past July 1st. He also decided to that since we were bleeding so much red ink that the new rate should be retroactively applied back to January 1st.

You can probably guess what the unintended consequences are, but for the sake of this post, not only will I elaborate but I will make your jaws collectively drop to the floor with a large thud. I will also concentrate my explanation on the public sector, because not only was the pain harshly inflicted there, but the math formula that this post is called became frightening clear.

Because the guv'nor decided that the new income tax rate should be retroactively applied, people started having extra taken out of their paychecks, which created a myriad of problems. There were a lot of glaring glitches involved the retroactive application of the new income tax rate, but none were more glaring that the highly abnormal amount of tax taken out if you did anything out of the ordinary.

In other words, if you worked just your standard schedule, you either had too little (like me) or the proper amount of taxes taken out. But if you work above and beyond that standard schedule, like overtime, the system burped and took too much out.

Confusing? Absolutely!

What the system did was this: it looked at your gross wages for the pay period (bi-weekly), projected a new annual salary for you and bumped you up to a higher tax bracket if need be. In other words, if you did say 10 hours of overtime, it would project a new annual salary based on those 10 hours and tax you accordingly.

Using those 10 hours as an example, let me show you how this would be applied using the new math formula.

Y is the amount of hours worked, which equals 10.
Z is the regular hourly amount, which equals $23.76.
You then multiply that dollar amount ($237.60) by 1 1/2, which gives you what you actually earned for working those hours of overtime ($356.40).

0 is what you wind up with after the new tax rate is applied.

That's right boys and girls, because of this monumental glitch, you worked 10 hours of overtime for free.

I repeat, you worked for free. Your hard earned dollars went towards fulfilling your tax debt, whether you have one or not, instead of going into your pocket.

And the only way that you might see that money, is after you file your income tax return on April 15th, which is the excuse that the Office of State Comptroller's, who knew about the glitch and chose to do nothing about it, gave when they were getting questions about it.

So in the end, an improbable formula of Y x Z x 1 1/2 = 0 is the harsh reality for not only the bulk of the people who work in Connecticut's public sector, but probably for those who work in the private sector as well.

Of course, this particular glitch is supposed to be gone by the time January rolls around.

Yah.

Welcom to the modern version of taxation without representation, which is practiced in this state with an almost orgasmic glee by the Democrats. And remember gang, a case of good quality beer is cheaper than three packs of cigarettes. At least in this state.

D'OH!!!!

8 comments:

  1. Too balance budgets that have been allowed to bleed out too long takes some harsh measures. But the retroactive part and the improper application of it is inexcusable.

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  2. That is stunning! I don't even know what to say. People must be absolutely furious.

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  3. Lynn: Even more mind boggling is the swing in the opposite direction. Just as a good percentage of people are getting too much taken out, the same percentage are getting little to none taken out.

    Using me for an example, if I didn't have an extra $30 taken out, I would have zero state taxes taken out of my paycheck.

    Charles: We all knew that whoever was going to be the next guv'nor would have to take drastic measures, but the sad part is that our General Assembly has been dominated by Democrats for the past 20 years, who believe that "fiscal prudence" is a dirty phrase.

    The general consensus amongst my co-workers is that we wouldn't be having this problem if the tax wasn't retroactively applied back to January. Six months at the old rate and six months at the new rate and things would've turned out okay.

    S.R.: People are beyond furious. Ain't nothing like losing half of your paycheck to taxes to bring the reality of long term rampant unchecked spending home.

    There really isn't much anyone can do at this point beyond waiting for next year to roll around so that one can file one's tax return and possibly get some of the money back.

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  4. R: Beyond fucked. If I told you how I spent the majority of my day today (12/19), you would probably put the late George Carlin to shame with your descriptive language.

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  5. Wow, you must be seeing red, G. That's unbelievable. Or maybe it's totally believable considering the state of politics. I really hope you get to recoup that money come April.

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  6. Talon: I don't think that I'll have a problem getting a refund for myself, but it's more to the people who are getting the heavy tax bite who might have problems, especially if they have a tax liability to deal with.

    And you're right, it is totally believable.

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