Posts tagged ‘NONE’

Arnold Tilts at Windmills (and Kevin, I will take that Deal)

California Governor Schwarzenegger pointed out in his state of the state address that out of 150+ state congressional districts in California, NONE changed party in the recent elections.  The Governator rightly called out gerrymandering as practiced in states like Texas and California for being a threat to democracy and an incumbent protection program.

This is great to hear, but I would give this a 0% chance of success for anyone but Ahnold.  The problem with doing anything about it is that your political support will almost by definition be coming from the minority party in the state.  That is not a winning political formula.  Even Kevin Drum, who seems to agree with Arnold's logic on this feels compelled to disagree to protect his party. However, Arnold is getting good at taking issues over the heads of legislators straight to the voters, so you never know.

By the way, as a libertarian who cares a lot more about the democratic process than either party, I would take Drum's proposed deal in a second.

(sign of the times:  my ieSpell program already has Schwarzenegger built into the dictionary)

Filing Sales Taxes Online

Just finished up preparing our sales tax returns for October.  We file in 9 states (Oregon does not have a sales tax) and about 5 municipalities or counties.  Being located outside of cities cuts down on the number of separate returns we have to file, but being in the lodging business adds returns (there are a lot of local lodging taxes out there).  NONE of these taxes work the same, and every return is unique.

I am working on a longer post with some observations about sales taxes, the states that have it right and the states that are over-complicated messes.  However, in the mean time, one observation.  Most states offer an online filing option.  If every state had a nice online tool, or better yet, a tool I could upload data to right out of Excel, I would love it.  This is a true win-win, with the business owner saving time and the state saving LOTS of time by not having to re-key handwritten returns.

However, several states currently have awful, totally non-intuitive online filing systems, or systems that are down all the time, or systems that make correcting errors a real pain in the butt, or all three.  The problem is, in most states, there is no way to try before you switch.  Many states play a kind of brinkmanship, requiring that if you file even once online, you can never go back to paper.  I did this with one state and the online tool really sucked, and now I am stuck  using it, despite the fact that their paper return is easier to use.

So, as a result of this nutty requirement, despite being totally committed to doing things online, I sit here filing paper returns, too risk-adverse to play Russian Roulette with various states' online filing systems.