Thursday, May 2, 2013


Monday, May 6th is a holiday of sorts for the workingperson – it’s Tax Freedom Day in New York. It’s the day that you can finally go about working for your own personal needs and interests like feeding your family, paying your mortgage, saving for your retirement, or helping your kid through college. Prior to that, every day that you worked this year covered your tax obligations and nothing else.

Tax Freedom Day is an annual study that determines when personal financial freedom is achieved. It is the brainchild of the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan educational organization that focuses on tax policy and the burdens they impose on Americans. The Foundation analyzes the entire tax burden shouldered by a state’s residents, looking at all taxes big and small, from income to property to sales to excise taxes. That bundle is then applied to the average wage for that state and from there the number of workdays required to meet that burden is calculated.

The study is a good gauge for the competitiveness and quality of life for each state. New Yorkers, long known as some of the highest-taxed folks in the US, have the second-latest Tax Freedom Day in the US. Only Connecticut comes later (May 13th). The average American spends less time working for the government than we do – they become free on April 18th. Not surprisingly, some states have over a month on us: Residents of Louisiana and Mississippi can start working for themselves on March 29th.

To some (specifically government officials) the Tax Foundation’s study may be a gimmick. It’s not; it’s a unique way of demonstrating just how much effort goes into making one’s annual payments to the government. Due to payroll tax deductions and mortgage escrow accounts, very few people really know how much they pay into the system. There are a lot of numbers for them to track. This helpful study makes it easy for the layman to understand his contribution.

Think about how damning the study is. For the past four-plus months, every hour that you’ve spent at work, sweating or stressing while dealing with customers, coworkers, or machines - not to mention the bad economy – has not been for the money that you need to pay the bills or set aside as discretionary income. Every one of those hours -- 720 of them if you work a 40 hour week -- has been dedicated to the bureaucracies that manage your town, school, county, state, and nation, and who, more often than not, recklessly spend your hard-earned dollars on social and corporate welfare, bloated public-sector payrolls, and wasteful pork. Nearly four months of your life were toiled away, just to make sure you paid the price of being a "good citizen" in 2013; four months spent working for everybody else, whether they deserved it or not.

Now, with a third of the year behind us, you can find what comfort you can in knowing that your next 8 months on the job can be dedicated to you and your family. But then, the vicious cycle starts all over again. And, who really knows when your next Tax Freedom Day will come? New York’s 2013 Tax Freedom Day is 10 days later than it was just 4 years ago!

This kind of makes you hunger for real tax freedom, doesn’t it?

Gasport resident Bob Confer also writes for the New American magazine at Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer  

This column originally appeared in the 06 May 2013 Greater Niagara Newspapers

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