Yes, I'm traveling this week, meaning that I'm reading USAToday. Here are a few articles from yesterday which I wanted to highlight, but didn't get an opportunity to because of limited connectivity.
If it moves within your jurisdiction, tax it!
Tax on business travelers?
State levies on visiting athletes, telecommuters suggest more to come.
Even big golf fans might not have heard of Sue Ginter. Her $240,577 over eight years puts her 305th on the LPGA tour's list of career winnings. That hardly makes her a household name. In fact, at an average of $30,000 a year, it barely pays the bills.
But she is well known to state tax collectors who've been fighting over her income as if she were superstar Annika Sorenstam. Ginter has paid income taxes to as many as seven states in a single year as she competes in tournaments around the USA.
Ginter is just one example of the absurd levels that about 20 states and some cities are reaching to collect taxes from people who are just passing through. It's also a warning to business travelers, some of whom might be next on the tax man's list.
Ginter pays what are informally known as “jock taxes” — an extension of commuter taxes to visiting athletes and entertainers. They were originally sold as a way to get money from mega-wealthy stars, whose income was high and whose travel schedules were transparent. But time and technology have enabled states and cities to reach deeper, and so they are.
New York and Massachusetts, for instance, are demanding travel records from corporate executives.
Some states are even going after individuals and businesses that never set foot within their borders. New York has a law, upheld last year by its highest court, that allows it to tax telecommuters as if they lived there. Several other states are eying “economic nexus” laws that would tax out-of-state businesses if they have customers in state.
These types of taxes allow states to grab ever larger shares of their budgets from people with no vote — and no way of complaining about the paper work they face. There's an expression for this: taxation without representation.
USAToday then goes on to give bullets on why this isn't a good idea... I've got one - It's WRONG!!! If the telecommunication law sn't countered, this could be a death knell to our economy. I've got a co-worker who moved to Phoenix instead of working in Manhattan purely because of the cost of living. He still works on Eastern time, which means that he has some very early mornings. If both New York and Arizona were able to tax him, he would lose any benefit of living where he chooses to.
I'm happy that USAToday is with me on this one...
ALGORE - CALL YOUR OFFICE!!!
This article about the Dubai Ports World deal being delayed and how it is being handled by the UAE press is informative. It describes how the UAE is more about business than politics. But I loved these closing lines... it's important to note that Dubai is the Vegas of the Middle East... "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy" (but without the democracy).
It's a city based on commerce. “Politics doesn't interest me,” says Mohaned Dawooud, 36, a Syrian executive at Dubai Holding Company, who was enjoying the nightlife Saturday. Alcohol consumption is legal here, unlike in many Arab and Muslim countries.
“I want to have a good job, beef up my bank account, marry a pretty wife and have pretty children,” he says. “That's it.”
But in the side streets, away from the rumbling Ferraris and bumping discos, is an underclass of foreigners eking out a living in poverty. Bukhash estimates that foreigners make up about 80% of the city's population.
Some expatriate laborers have a different view of the ports dispute.
Efforts to kill the deal show “America's racism towards Arabs and Muslims in general,” says Yamin Suwedan, 34, a Syrian.
Where have I heard references to American discrimination / racism against Arabs before? Oh, right.
ARC: St Wendeler