Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Florida and Texas Suck

"Dwight Howard leaves California for Texas, taking less money but perhaps more after taxes"

"LeBron saves $25M in taxes, signing with Miami over NY"

We get it, $20M in income in Florida is the same as $22M in New York or perhaps not because...

These articles are completely misleading! I'm sick and tired of seeing articles discussing the benefit of low taxes without mentioning the most important impact of those low tax policies:

Taxes Pay for Things

explaining why Florida and Texas suck:

Let me enlighten you.... clicking the links and reading the articles may shock you.  (I'm not going to talk about the old people in Florida or the Bush family in Texas, only things that suck because taxes are so low):

Low, Regressive, Taxes:
Taxes pay for things, and income taxes are either flat or progressive while sales taxes are regressive.  So though Texas and Florida don't have state income taxes, they do have sales taxes, both about 6%.  Sales taxes are regressive because as a % of income, poor people pay a much higher % in sales taxes than the wealthy. So Texas and Florida have decided that as a policy, in order to generate enough revenue to balance their budgets, they will use a tax regime favors the rich over the poor. Texas and Florida obtain about 50% of their revenue from sales taxes, California and NY are around 30%. Thus, before we even get to what the lack of taxes pay for, Texas and Florida already suck.

Taxes buy things, like services, health care, infrastructure, regulations:
In Texas cops were caught feeling up women's private parts. They investigated and found that the practice is widespread? Why did it take so long for Texas to figure out this was happening or investigate? Probably because they don't have a very strong internal affairs department. Why did this happen in the first place?  Because taxes pay salaries, and in Texas and Florida cops are paid about 17% less than those in California or NY.  Taxes also pay for education and training.

Isn't it Police Rule 101 that you don't chase a car through crowded streets?  How many untrained Texas police officers does it take to realize that high speed chases end in horrible accidents?

How about this story out of Florida. Police shoot at unarmed, innocent man, 15 times, in his own driveway, mistaking him for a car thief.  Then the police chief has the balls to say the police acted properly.  Of course, the 60 year old man was black, while the cops were white. In order for the police to be justified in their actions, their assumption that everyone is an armed criminal must be true. If that's the case, then you definitely don't want to live in Florida.

Six weeks later, Florida cops in the same town broke into a home w/o a warrant and shot the owners dogs because they were pursuing a suspect in the area. The only evidence cops used to enter the home w/o a warrant and kill the couple's dogs was that their garbage bin was overturned.  If you want to live in Florida, go ahead.  From my view, it sucks.

Taxes pay for things, and support the rule of law. I'll avoid the entire Trayvon discussion except to say that George Zimmerman's lack of trust in law enforcement to do its job by contributed to the event's outcome.  Then the inability for law enforcement to actually do its job after the incident contributed significantly to the case going national.  Without taxes paying for services, you get local militias, neighborhood watches, and untrained vigilantes roaming your streets.

There aren't just vigilantes - there are just guns. Everywhere. (Man pistol whips Dunkin Employee) The Brady Campaign gives Florida 5 pts for gun prevention law and Texas 6 points. New York and California got 64 and 80 pts.

If you want to be safe while driving, don't drive in Texas or Florida.  The traffic fatality rate in Texas was 11.75/100,000 and 12.58 in Florida, both higher than the national average in 2011. In California, our most populous state, it was 7.04 and in NY it was 6.05.  A similar trend carries for alcohol related traffic fatalities (same links have the data).  This all goes back to lack of education, lack of regulation (police) and the vigilante/individualism attitude in those states. Feel free to enjoy the low taxes, I hope you don't die in a car wreck.

Years ago, some idiot in West Texas decided to build a middle school right next to a fertilizer plant. In many states, this would not have been allowed. But in Texas, it was no problem.  The company was able to file an emergency plan saying it had no fire or explosion risk even though when it did eventually exploded in March, killing 15 people and injuring 160, it had 540,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and 110,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on site. I'm not surprised the company didn't disclose this to local or federal agencies, because that would be an infringement on freedom or something and regulations kill jobs or something and you don't mess with Texas or something.  The plant did have $1M in liability insurance, even though by Texas law they weren't required to have any. (WHAT?!). Now this kind of thing could happen anywhere, but companies specifically move to Texas to avoid regulations that could protect us from tragedy.  The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is the most likely agency to do anything about such violations, and just before the explosion, Texas officials had voted to reduce regulation even further, hoping to cut the agency's budget. The plant did not have regular inspections, its prior one was in 2006, and it didn't even have sprinklers.  REGULATIONS COST MONEY, REGULATIONS PROTECT PEOPLE, thus TAXES PROTECT PEOPLE.

Texas has the highest percent of uninsured people in the country, at 25%, (FL at 21%) compared to California and NY at 14% and 15% respectively.  Florida's numbers are of course helped by the significant elderly population who qualify for federal care while all 4 of these states have significant immigrant populations, so that impact washes to an extent.  If you exclude the elderly, Texas is dead last at 27%, vs 24% for Florida (4th worst).  For children, the disparity is still large at 17% and 16% in FL vs 11% and 8% in NY and California because Florida and Texas don't want to help young children, who don't have insurance through no fault of their own, by raising taxes. 27% of Texas citizens that have a job are still uninsured.  This is a huge burden for the state's hospitals, which must treat the uninsured regardless of if they can pay... and it creates a spiral of higher and higher insurance rates for those who have insurance, and are subsidizing the uninsured. Uninsured people still get sick, and still use the services, so Texas and Florida have decided to keep taxes low, not provide insurance, and then as a result, people end up paying anyway.

You know Florida sucks when someone creates a blog called "Florida or Russia" where you have to guess where the F-ed up event took place. I don't even know what to say about this story...where Florida youths just disappeared at school years ago and now they're digging up bodies on the school grounds.  Perhaps with more $ and oversight, the govt could have done a better job protecting its young citizens.

But seriously, Florida men are the worst.  Florida women are pretty bad too.

I'm not saying higher taxes are a cure all...or that income taxes are the best way to raise tax revenue (I prefer land taxes)...or that high tax states can't have their problems...

If low taxes were such an amazing thing, why wouldn't every state cut taxes to zero...b/c you'd have no state at all.  States must fund themselves, some fund themselves more than others...and some fund themselves with taxes on the poor, while others spread it out. Some underfund basic services, and some don't.  Like so many things, you get what you pay for, and if you aren't paying much in Florida and Texas, you aren't getting much.

(This post likely ends any Presidential aspirations I may have had)