Outright Theft

Courtesy of commenter crosspatch comes this bit of outright theft by the government of California on its taxpaying citizens. It seems the state will be simply taking an additional 10% withholding on state income taxes – even if the people are already having all the correct amount of dollars withheld.

Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners — holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.

Technically, it’s not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives. As part of a bundle of budget patches adopted in the summer, the state is taking more money now in withholding, even though workers’ annual tax bills won’t change.

Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You’ll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.

The government will simply take the money it knows full well it is not entitled to. They will not pay any interest on the “loan” they are forcing people to give them.

That’s theft. Straight-up. Passed by the legislature and signed into law by the Governator.

There is a bit of advice in the article that I strongly urge Californians to follow as soon as humanly possible: Change the number of dependents you are claiming to the state.

Savvy taxpayers can get around the state’s maneuver by increasing the number of personal withholding allowances they claim on their employer tax forms, said Brenda Voet, a spokeswoman for the state’s Franchise Tax Board.

Get expert advice before doing so. You do not want to run afoul of the IRS with anything you do about this.

But seriously, California folks. Isn’t it about time to throw California’s entire body of elected officials out? These people are thieves.There is no other word for this.

One simply detestable quote from the article: an “expert” informing the LA Times that the impact of the theft will not be all that big on people:

But Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, wasn’t so sure.

“It’s having a relatively small impact on people’s income,” Levy said, pointing out that many families will receive only $12 to $40 less each month.

Let’s get this straight. California’s political class have zero right to take that money at all. Sure, they have the power to do so, but that does not imply that they should. They are taking money from people to pretend to patch the failing finances of an out-of-control political power structure.

Time to throw them out.

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14 Responses to Outright Theft

  1. crosspatch says:

    The problem with this whole thing is there is no limit to how far they could take this. What prevents them from taking our entire check and dolling out cash as they deem we are worthy of having and then “paying” us at the end of the year with an IOU that the bank may or may not honor?

    What guarantee do we have that the state will have the cash at the end of the year to repay all the extra withholding? They didn’t have the cash to repay this year’s refunds and were talking IOUs.

    So there is no limit on how much they feel they are allowed to take from us and they don’t have to make any guarantees that they will be able to pay it back. They believe our paycheck is their money.

    Firing the bastards isn’t enough. That entire mentality needs to somehow be erased.

  2. crosspatch says:

    In my opinion, this has the potential to simply make things worse. They are taking the people’s cash out of their paychecks and if they don’t have the money to pay up next year, they are going to be in a WORLD of hurt.

  3. Phineas says:

    I’ve known about this one for a couple of months, now. It made me mad when I first learned of it, and it’s got me even madder now. At the moment, I’d vote for one of the local feral cats before I’d vote to reelect my Assemblywoman. (Speaker Karen “Free speech is terroristic” Bass.)

  4. LYNNDH says:

    Well CA voters keep voting them in. No sympathy on my part at all. This will be on top of all the new Fed taxes part of health and the crapntax bills.

  5. feeblemind says:

    Crosspatch, you beat me to it with your 3:51 pm comment. Question: Did CA taxpayers ever get their refunds this year? I never heard anything about it.

  6. Phineas says:

    Lynn, we don’t need your sympathy. This state is not a democratic republic. Thanks to safe seats and left-wing single-interest donor groups, this is a self-perpetuating oligarchy of professional politicians. Don’t worry, change is coming. It just takes time for the people to get mad enough to enact it.

    Feeblemind, yes, we got our refunds. They avoided the IOU fiasco (this time) at the last minute.

  7. crosspatch says:

    Yeah, feeblemind, we got refunds. They were delayed, though, until an agreement was reached which includes this little diddy … increasing the withholding beyond what is needed to pay the tax for next year.

    So instead of having to pass a bond issue to raise money temporarily, they have simply agreed to take it from the taxpayers. Just yank it right out of our pay. And they will pay no interest. But this just increases the deficit and come next year they will be forced to pay out in refunds even more than they would have to pay otherwise. So it has the potential to compound the problem rather than solving it. All they have managed to do is kick the can down the alley for another year and doing it by robbing us of our hard earned.

    And another thing: I keep hearing these liberals saying that we don’t pay enough in taxes. FINE. The state Franchise Tax Board and the US Treasury both accept donations. Anyone who feels they are not taxed enough is allowed to donate money to the government. Every time I point that out they shut right up. It isn’t that THEY feel they aren’t being taxed enough, they feel everyone ELSE isn’t being taxed enough.

    I am so mad I could spit. So they are “just” going to take an extra $40 this year. But what is the boundary? What is the limit? What if they decide to take “just” another $40 next year on top of the $40 they took this year? What is to stop them? Nothing as far as I can tell prevents them from taking our entire paycheck if they wanted to.

    There needs to be a boundary. Just as we are penalized for under withholding and claiming too many exemptions, the state should be penalized for over withholding when we have claimed the proper number of exemptions.

    This notion of having open-ended access to our paychecks needs to stop.

  8. feeblemind says:

    Phineas and Crosspatch, you have every right to be outraged. It infuriates me and I don’t even live there. I can see where this could just roll and build when the money is not there come tax refund time. One wonders how many other states are watching California and the voters’ reaction, and wondering if they should play a similar shell game?

  9. John says:

    feeblemind you are right on. Sitting here in New York Im just wondering when those perps up in Albany are going to do the same thing. Also as crosspatch said what is the limit? Will they stop or continue with even bigger forced “loans”?

  10. Dana says:

    There is a way for Californians who have been claiming too few exemptions to get around this. I assume that most such people claiming too few exemptions are doing do to insure that they get a refund on their federal taxes. But Form W-4 (note: .pdf file) has a better option. You claim the proper number of exemptions, and if you want additional money withheld from your federal, but not state, taxes, to insure that you get a refund, line 6 on the Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate is “Additional amount, if any, you want withheld from each paycheck.” The IRS even encourages this on the bottom of the worksheet, the “Two-Earners/Multiple Jobs Worksheet” section, giving you a worksheet to calculate what you’ll need to have in additional withholding if you have two earners in the family, especially if they have significantly diferent wages.

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  12. crosspatch says:

    Dana, that isn’t the issue. The issue is “where does it stop”. What if they raise the amount they are taking again next year? But they are being very careful here not to take enough to take you up another exemption. If you are already claiming the correct number of exemptions and try to increase it by one, you will not have ENOUGH taken out and will be penalized for it.

  13. crosspatch says:

    Oh, and the California Franchise Tax Board is NOT the IRS.

  14. crosspatch says:

    Heh, and now the city of Vallejo (not far from Napa) wants to tax cell phone SMS text messages.

    Where does it stop? When are they going to tax “impure thoughts”?

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