Your federal income taxes are due today — but it will take more than two weeks before you’ve really paid them for this year. That’s because Tax Freedom Day falls on May 3, the latest date ever. On average, Americans must work 123 days in 2001 to pay their taxes at the federal, state, and local levels and begin earning money for themselves, according to calculations by the Tax Foundation. Last year, Tax Freedom Day arrived one day sooner, or 122 days into the year.
”Since 1992,” says economist Scott Moody, “when Tax Freedom Day fell on April 18, the total tax burden has grown markedly, requiring two extra weeks of work from American taxpayers.” The increase is almost entirely a result of the fast growth of the federal tax burden.
Tax Freedom Day will continue to arrive later in the year under current law. In 2011, for instance, it is projected to come on May 10. Things improve only slightly under President Bush’s budget plan. Tax Freedom Day would slip back to May 2 next year and then to May 1 in 2004. But in ten years, it will land on May 5 — mainly because of the progressive tax code’s tendency to consume a larger share of national income over time.
Decommissioned The U.S. Commission for Civil Rights says its report on the Florida vote should be ready in early June, and it promises to question the validity of President Bush’s election. The commission never has intended to conduct a fair and impartial probe of what happened in the Sunshine State, a point that became even clearer on Friday, at the panel’s latest monthly meeting.
The commissioners — six Democrats, and only two Republicans — discussed a “discussion draft outline” of the pending report. Proposed chapter and sub-chapter headings include “Lack of Accurate Registration Lists,” “No Opportunity to Appeal,” “Lack of Access to Polling Places,” “Poll Workers Confirm Widespread Voter Disenfranchisement,” and so on.
Commissioner Abigail Thernstrom (one of the Republicans) suggested posing some of these headings as questions: “Were Registration Lists Accurate?” It remains to be seen whether the report’s authors will take her advice, but on some level it hardly matters: They’re going to suggest the Florida in 2000 was no better than Mississippi in 1960.
In other business, the commission adopted a formal statement condemning schools that use Indian team names. The language is not so harsh as a draft statement proposed last month — the new version doesn’t demand that the Department of Justice unleash its lawyers on offenders — but it remains rather confrontational: “These references, whether mascots and their performers, logos, or names, are disrespectful and offensive to American Indians.” We have reported on this matter extensively, including an update last week.