Monday, March 9, 2009

Hey, who wants to be tax-free??

D.C. of course!

I stumbled on this from this morning's report. I'm seeing red.

Excerpt as follows:

And speaking of those spreadsheet jocks who work for Uncle and live in the District of Columbia, here's what I want you read to jump-start your adrenals today: Read the text of a little special interest -- F/You for taxpayers -- sponsored by 11 out-of-touch republicans in CONgress who want to let people who live in the District of Columbia pay no federal income tax!

No, I can't make this stuff up.

House Resolution 1014, which was introduced by the following members on February 9th of this year, add insult to financial injury.

Sleazy doesn't even begin to cover this as the bill's title tries to hide the fact that the bill would make working and living in The District its own little federal tax haven. Outraged yet? Keep reading:

"To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to tax bona fide residents of the District of Columbia in the same manner as bona fide residents of possessions of the United States."

On the surface it might sound fine, but as a long-time reporter who's followed the legislative process, I got really suspicious when the bill began by wrapping itself in all kinds of Flag, Mom and Apple Pie verbiage like this:

"(1) The phrase ‘no taxation without representation’ was a rallying cry of many American colonists during the period of British rule in the 1760s and early 1770s. The slogan gained widespread notoriety after the passage of the Sugar Act on April 5, 1764.

(2) American colonists increasingly resented being levied taxes without having actual legislators seated and voting in Parliament in London. The idea that there should be no taxation without representation dated back even further. Benjamin Franklin stated, ‘it is suppos’d an undoubted Right of Englishmen not to be taxed but by their own Consent given thro’ their Representatives.’.

(3) This issue became even more defined in 1765 with the passage of the Stamp Act which was the first true attempt to levy a direct tax on the American colonies. Ultimately the tax was repealed, but the idea of no taxation without representation persisted.

(4) Article I, section 2, clause 1 of the United States Constitution, states, ‘The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.’.(5) The Organic Act of 1801 placed Washington, DC, under the exclusive jurisdiction of the United States Congress and people in the District were no longer considered residents of Virginia or Maryland.

(6) Many in Washington, DC, were immediately opposed to the idea of being taxed without congressional representation and over the years several congressional leaders introduced constitutional amendments to give the District of Columbia voting representation, though none were successful.

(7) In 1898, Puerto Rico was acquired by the United States and currently has a Resident Commissioner with limited voting rights. Section 933 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 exempts bona fide citizens who are residents of Puerto Rico for the entire taxable year from Federal taxes on income earned in Puerto Rico.

(8) On March 31, 1917, the United States took possession of the Virgin Islands and in 1927, the territory’s residents were granted citizenship. Under section 932 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, individuals who are bona fide residents of the United States Virgin Islands during the entire taxable year, and who fully pay all income tax liabilities to the United States Virgin Islands, are not subject to Federal income taxes on their income.

(9) Guam was established as a territory of the United States after the passage of the Guam Organic Act of 1950. Under the provisions of section 935 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, residents of Guam are required to file tax returns with Guam, but not with the United States Federal Government and therefore the residents do not have to pay United States Federal income taxes.

(10) The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands was established in 1975 after residents decided not to pursue independence, but instead they opted to enter into territory negotiations. The tax treatment of the Northern Mariana Islands is similar to the structure of Guam in that bona fide residents are not required to pay Federal income taxes.

(11) American Samoa, which is technically considered ‘unorganized’ because no Organic Acts have been passed by Congress, is governed by section 931 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Under this section, bona fide year-round residents are exempt from Federal taxes on income they earn in Samoa, Guam, and Northern Mariana Islands, but are subject to Federal taxes on income earned elsewhere. "

Whole lotta flag-waving - and nothing wrong with that - but then comes this part (with emphasis added):

(12) In keeping with the early history and democratic traditions of the United States, the principles established in the Constitution, and in conformance with the other territories of the United States which have delegates but no Representative, the residents of the District of Columbia should be exempt from paying United States Federal income taxes.

Now, I don't know about you, but since our predictive linguistics pals over at have already labeled what's ahead as the Summer of Hell/2009, it smells like the central government is trying to 'buy off' federal workers in the District to help ensure that when the public starts protesting en masse this summer (as food prices got skyward and shortage develop due to the unbelievable debt load/burden placed on the economy - coupled with all those freshly printed dollars to puff up the financial system) that the people who do the real work in Washington will not 'bite the hands of those who fed 'em."

This piece of you-know-what legislation was introduced by representative Louis Gohmert of Texas' first district and, I'm embarrassed to say, representative Jeb Hensarling of the Texas fifth district which represents (or so I thought) has signed on as a co-sponsor along with:

Rep. Roscoe Bartlett [R, MD-6]

Rep. Paul Broun [R, GA-10]

Rep. Dan Burton [R, IN-5]

Rep. Trent Franks [R, AZ-2]

Rep. Gregg Harper [R, MS-3]

Rep. Doug Lamborn [R, CO-5]

Rep. Cynthia Lummis [R, WY-0]

Rep. Ronald Paul [R, TX-14]

Rep. F. Sensenbrenner [R, WI-5]

I will be calling Jeb Hensarling's office later on today to see if I can get some kind of written statement that explains how it is that these folks can co-sponsor a bill which would let, just for example, lobbyists living in the District of Columbia, to take their incomes tax-free!

Here's the detail:

‘(a) General Rule- In the case of an individual who is a bona fide resident of the District of Columbia during the entire taxable year, gross income shall not include--

‘(1) income derived from sources within the District of Columbia, and

‘(2) income effectively connected with the conduct of a trade or business by such individual within the District of Columbia.

End excerpt.

This is outrageous and preposterous. Please pass the word!

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