Sunday, December 1, 2013

I Work for the Government

My name is Ronn Torossian and I work for the government.  Avid readers of Front Page Magazine may have thought I was a public relations firm owner and author, however, I work for the government more than I work for anyone else.  This week, I was shocked when my accountant provided me with 2013 tax estimates showing that as a New York City resident, my effective tax rate will be 55 percent. What you read is correct, 55 percent of the year I work for the American government!

That being said, unlike most other government employees, I don’t have a guaranteed pension, don’t work plush hours of 9-to-5 with four weeks guaranteed vacation, actually have to be held accountable for what I do, assume responsibility for the employment of over 100 people, balance a budget…and work hard.

Let’s review where my astounding 55 percent taxes went. Nineteen percent of the federal government’s budget pays for “defense and security-related international activities,” which basically can be translated as ensuring that our country provides for despots and dictators while making sure no one harms Iran’s precious nuclear weapons. Of course, it will also pay to create havoc in the Middle East – none of which is in America’s interest. Twenty-two percent of the federal government’s budget pays for Social Security, which likely won’t exist when it’s my turn to depend on it.

Large percentages of my federal taxes go for “Three health insurance programs — Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP),” which is also supplemented by that broken program called ObamaCare (although unlike a certain government website, the website for my agency actually works). My family and my employees’ healthcare is a tremendous expense, and every time we do anything at the doctor’s we pay deductibles. Six percent of the federal taxes I pay go to pay interest on the national debt – since, unlike entrepreneurs, the government doesn’t actually need to balance a checkbook.

Top that off with the fact that New York State is the worst state in America to do business according to the “Small Business Survival Index” by the Tax Foundation. A Mercatus Center report said New York, NY has “the highest taxes in the country: three and a half standard deviations above the national mean.”  Our Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, raised rates to 8.82% in 2011, while New York City and state’s combined top tax rate is currently 12.70%. There is also an additional “unincorporated business tax” (UBT) of 4% on pass-through entities and sole proprietorships, which puts the rate at 16.70%. All these taxes – and what do we get?

From housing to all services, everything – EVERYTHING – is expensive.  Our new Mayor Bill de Blasio thinks we aren’t paying enough, and in classic socialist language speaks of “two cities” where of course the successful should be penalized. New York City public schools are so overcrowded that many of us choose private schools to ensure our children receive a quality education. As an employer, I pay significant annual taxes to the MTA, a tax called the metropolitan commuter transportation mobility tax (MCTMT) – yet still pay full fare when I take the subway. Of course, the train regularly breaks down or has some sort of issue.

Naturally, even though I volunteer 55 percent of my year for the government, the local, state and federal governments are all operating at a deficit. I lie – its more than 55 percent, for as an entrepreneur, we pay payroll taxes, workers compensation, NYC commercial rent taxes, payroll tax, employees who go on jury duty and countless other taxes I may not even be aware of.

The Vice President of this country, Joe Biden has said that paying higher taxes is the “patriotic thing to do” and I could not disagree with the man any stronger. There is nothing redeeming about these taxes and I find them to be despicable.

As an entrepreneur who created my own success and hundreds of jobs, my duty is not to work 55 percent of the year so I can pay taxes. It is un-American and not something our forefathers would have ever envisioned.


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