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Americans working 99 days to pay current taxes

Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010, at 1:10 PM

By FRANK KEEGAN, Editor Watchdog.org

The Tax Foundation releases its annual calculation of Tax Freedom Day, when the average American gets to stop paying for the current cost of federal, state and local governments.

This year, average Americans will work until April 9 to pay the current costs of federal, state and local governments, according to an organization that has been calculating Tax Freedom Day for more than 40 years.

The Tax Foundation today released its annual report showing governments taking 99 days of earnings, one day longer than 2009, but 22 days shorter than 2000.

According to Scott Hodge, Foundation president, government will take more from Americans this year than we "spend on food, clothing and shelter combined."

And that does not include the full cost of the federal government, he said. "We're really taxing for only 60 percent of what we're spending. If we increase to include all of it, Tax Freedom Day would be May 17."

He said the calculations this year do not include estimated costs of the recently passed national health-care plan or the possibility of President Bush's tax deferrals expiring.

Asked if Tax Freedom Day calculations include national, local and state government expenses and debt that are off the books, Hodge laughed and said, "That would take us to 2075."

"Actually, we did a calculation on what it would take just to eliminate the deficit and got a 242 percent increase in income tax rates. The 10 percent bottom rate would have to be 24 percent, and the top rate would have to be 86 percent."

He added, "That would do nothing about the national debt."

The full report, including listings of state Tax Freedom Days and percentage of taxes take for categories of government expenses, are at the foundation's Web site.

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