This week on Jones Street

As we roll toward April 15th, it would be great to hear from North Carolina citizens everywhere about the Very Big Savings you're seeing on your tax bills. And while you're busy calculating your new-found wealth, you might want to look ahead to the coming Republican "Trojan Horse Tax Cuts":

  • Are you one of the people who had your mortgage written down after being defrauded by the banksters? If so, did you know that the amount of the write-down will now be taxed as income? Even though you'll never see a dime of that amount, guess what? You'll get to pay taxes on it! How cool is that?
  • Are you a student who was counting on being able to deduct tuition expenses from your taxable income? Count no more. If the NC House goes along with Phil Berger's plan, that deduction will be off the table.
  • Are you a person who drives a car? Well, congratulations. Thanks to some legislative sleight of hand, you'll be seeing the amount of tax you pay on gasoline go up, up, and more up later this year. Just you wait.

All of these insults to the middle class are on the docket this week in Raleigh. The only question is whether these bills will sneak through without debate or be rammed down our throats will a hearty "screw you." And that, of course, depends on what kind of speaker Tim Moore is. Will he turn out to be Phil Berger's "yes man" and do the dirty work of further shredding the middle class, or will he stand up and say, "this isn't right."

Smart money says he's a yes man. There not a hint of evidence that he can think for himself, and there's certainly no indication that he understands the toll Republican policies are taking on North Carolina's middle class.

If you're a rich guy who doesn't care about anyone else, you should be delighted this week with the legislature. The Republican plan to help you get even richer is well underway. To those who are counting on trickle down to lift all boats, well, you're basically shit out of luck.

PS Also, look for Democrats to propose legislation for equal rights for women in North Carolina, and that could include equal pay. Then look for Republicans to say "we don't need no stinkin' equality. A woman's place is under her man."



The truth about the state budget

I almost feel sorry for the R's right now. They're in a shitstorm of fiscal collapse and are having to shuck and jive and lie and steal to come up with sources of revenue to keep the state from sinking. Unfortunately, they're a one-trick pony ... and that trick involves screwing over the middle class.

Squeezing blood from a stone

So much for their "anti-tax" bullshit. And what's even worse, those distressed mortgage holders and debt-ridden students aren't going to be able to afford this nonsensical tax hike, so they're going to end up getting in trouble with the NC Department of Revenue. Who has the power to do this:

NC Gen. Stat. §105-242(b) requires that you withhold from the employee’s gross salary and wages under the terms of the garnishment until it is satisfied. The Department requires that 10% of monthly gross salaries and wages be withheld and remitted to the Department.
What are “salaries” and “wages” as it applies to the 10% limitation on the garnishment?

Salaries and wages are any amounts paid to an employee that would typically be reported on a W-2 or NC-2 form. NC general statutes do not allow the Department of Revenue to require more than 10% of monthly gross salaries and wages to be deducted from paychecks.
Can a garnishment attach to payments or other assets that are not reported on a W-2 or NC-2 and are not considered salaries and wages? Are these subject to any garnishment limitations?

The garnishment attaches bank accounts, rents, royalties, contract payments, deposits, accounts receivables and all other intangible property incapable of manual levy. These amounts are not subject to the 10% limitation. The full amount of these types of payments that would otherwise be paid to the taxpayer must be garnished and remitted to the Department of Revenue.

For example, an employee of a bank may also have deposit accounts at the bank. In this case, the bank must remit 100% of any deposits to the Department of Revenue. Additionally, the bank must withhold 10% of the employee’s gross salaries or wages until the liability shown due on the garnishment, together with accrued interest, is paid in full.

Unless I'm mistaken, that last part means the DoR can force an employer to empty a person's retirement account in order to pay their tax debt.

Tax NON-cheater to prison pipeline?

I wonder about those folks who don't have jobs or any savings to garnish. Would they be jailed? -- If so, that makes perfect sense (if you're a heartless neo-conservative): As a commenter on one of Vicki's blog postings mentioned over the weekend, the real reason behind many of this legislature's news laws and regs might be to steer money to certain of their friends.