October 15, 2017

A Thought about Social Media

"Social media -- a permanent marinade for the human brain -- is causing a vast, mysterious transformation of how people process experience, and maybe someday a future B.F. Skinner will explain what it has done to us."

~ Daniel Henninger

Source: his June 15, 2017 Wonderland column (behind paywall), "Political Disorder Syndrome," page A15, Wall Street Journal.

October 14, 2017

Chicago Repeals Its Soda Tax

At the National Taxpayers Union's blog on Thursday, Tom Aiello reported that Cook County (Chicago and inner suburbs) realized their mistake and repealed their soda tax after just 71 days.

He went on to explain:

"Yesterday, the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to repeal the disastrous sweetened beverage tax. After going into effect back in August, the tax has united 87 percent of residents in opposition due to its adverse economic impacts. With a super majority voting in favor of repeal, shoppers and businesses will no longer have to bear the burden of the penny-per-ounce tax starting December 1st.

"In addition to the county’s sweetened beverage tax, Chicagoans already pay a 3 percent tax on soft drinks. Adding both on top of Chicago’s sales tax rate of 10.25 percent (the highest of any major city), soda sold in the city is among the most expensive in the country. According to research from the Illinois Policy Institute, “a two-liter bottle of pop with a base price of $2.49 now costs $3.49, an effective 40 percent combined tax rate on soda.” In fact, the county’s tax on sweetened beverages is more than five times higher than Illinois’ state tax on beer and alcohol.

"When consumers are faced with higher prices on goods, they will end up reducing their purchase quantity. This law of economics holds true in Chicago as small businesses are struggling to offset  loss of revenue from the lack of soda sales. As a result of sagging sales, employers are  cutting hours from their employees or not filling vacant positions. In total, the impact of Cook County’s beverage is tax devastating with an estimated 6,100 lost jobs, $321 million in lost wages, and $1.3 billion in lost economic activity."

Aiello added that with Cook County having to make up a $200 million shortfall, taxpayers need to be prepared to fight the next proposed tax increase.

The National Taxpayers Union was founded in 1969. For more information about our friends at NTU, click here.

October 13, 2017

A Thought about Prejudices

"Prejudices are what fools use for reason."

~ Voltaire

HT ThinkExist.

October 12, 2017

Americans Say the Sales Tax is the Fairest of Taxes

A survey of 1,000 Americans, published last month by Rasmussen Reports (tm) and conducted September 6 - 7, reported:

"Even as the fight over charging sales tax for online retailers ensues in Congress, Americans still think sales tax is the most fair type of tax they pay. But they’re nearly as likely to see income tax as both the most (and least) fair type of tax today.

"A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 39% of American Adults, when given four chief types of taxation, view a sales tax as the one that is most fair. Thirty percent (30%) rate an income tax as fairest, while eight percent (8%) feel that way about property taxes and 5% consider a payroll tax the most fair. Eighteen percent (18%) are undecided."

Sales taxes seem little more than the state version of the FairTax. For more information about the FairTax, visit the FairTax.org website.

FairTax legislation, S.18, has been sponsored in the 115th Congress (2017-2018) by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kansas), and currently has four co-sponsors. In the House, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Georgia), has sponsored FairTax legislation, H.R. 25, and currently has 45 co-sponsors.

Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, explains the flat tax in this April 2010 U.S. News & World Report article. A brief, seven-page guide to the flat tax, authored by Mitchell, is available at the Heritage Foundation.

With tax cutting and tax reform legislation about to be the major focus of Congress, Growls readers are encouraged to take a few minutes to write or call their Congressional representatives. Tell them about the Rasmussen survey, and what you think about a flat tax and/or the FairTax. Contact information is available at the Library of Congress' Congress.gov. Taxpayers living in Virginia's Arlington County can contact:

  • Senator Mark Warner (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-2023
  • Senator Tim Kaine (D) -- write to him or call (202) 224-4024
  • Representative Don Beyer (D) -- write to him or call (202) 225-4376

And ask for a written response. And tell them ACTA sent you.

October 11, 2017

Another Thought about Patriotism

 "Our obligations to our country never cease but with our lives."

~ John Adams, letter to Benjamin Rush -- 1808

HT Founders' Quote Database, The Patriot Post.

October 10, 2017

Arlington Public Schools Pass All-Time Enrollment Record

According to the Arlington Sun Gazette's Scott McCaffrey today, "It may not be as high as school officials had projected, but Arlington’s student population has now overtaken the previous all-time record, set during the heart of the Baby Boom generation."

A few more details from his reporting include:

"Arlington Public Schools officials submitted an official 2017-18 count of 26,927 students to the Virginia Department of Education, based on the number of youngsters in class on Sept. 30.

"The official count was up 789 students – 3 percent – from a year before, and has now risen 27 percent since the 2010-11 school year.

"And it has now surpassed the previous record of 26,927 students in 1963.

"The official count, submitted annually to state officials by all of Virginia’s school districts, is “the basis for budget planning and planning for next year’s projections,” Superintendent Patrick Murphy said at the Oct. 5 School Board meeting.

"While now at a record high, the enrollment count was below what had been anticipated. “We had projected over 27,000,” Murphy said. The school system could still get there this year, as “we will ebb and flow throughout the year,” he said."

McCaffrey points out that compared to last year, "total enrollment was up 2.8 percent at the elementary-school level, 4 percent at the middle-school level and 2.6 percent at the high-school level,." Surprisingly, he wrote, "Arlington has a smaller percentage of households with school-age children, compared to surrounding jurisdictions."

He didn't mention, however, the cost of those additional 789 students. Using the FY 2017 cost-per-student of $18,957 from the most recent WABE Guide, the FY 2018 cost won't be available until later this month, the additional 789 student will cost Arlington County taxpayers almost $15 million.

Will the Arlington School Board direct the Superintendent to take immediate steps to find $15 million in cost savings to pay for the additional students? We doubt it. Growls readers with questions or comments about the year-to-year growth in enrollment can direct them to the Arlington School Board. Just click-on the link below:

  • Call the School Board office at (703) 228-6015

And tell them ACTA sent you.

October 09, 2017

A Thought about Mass Movements

"The quality of ideas seems to play a minor role in mass movement leadership. What counts is the arrogant gesture, the complete disregard of the opinion of others, the singlehanded defiance of the world."

~ Eric Hoffer

HT Thomas Sowell's Collection of Favorite Quotations.

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Items in Growls are written by individual ACTA members and do not necessarily represent the views of the Arlington County Taxpayers Association, Inc. Please send comments about Growls to The Growl Meister