Press-Republican

Columns

May 2, 2012

Most taxes hard to decipher

As I write this column, Toby and I just finished calculating our taxes at our preparer's house. It was a bad time to come home and clean out old receipts from the filing cabinet.

I started tearing up old paid bills, such as the cable, and couldn't help but notice how many taxes we pay. On just one cable bill we are charged: Federal Communications Commission administration fee, franchise fees, broadcast TV surcharge, (phone), end user common-line charge, gross receipts tax, federal Universal Service Fund, federal excise tax, regulatory cost fee, telecommunications excise tax, telephone sales tax and County 911 surcharge. Total: $18.06.

As far as I'm concerned, a fee or a surcharge is just another word for "tax." I don't mind paying sales taxes or E911 surcharges, but a franchise fee tax of $5.05? I don't own that franchise, so why should I pay a tax?

How about the cellphone bill? Clinton County, state and local sales tax, Clinton County wireless E911 surcharge, federal Universal Service Fund surcharge-wireless, New York telecommunications excise surcharge, public-safety communication surcharge and regulatory cost recovery charge. Total: $5.23.

How about the light bill? I expect to pay for electricity I use, but some of these charges are confusing: transition charge, New York state assessment, System Benefits and Renewable Portfolio Standard charge, merchant function charge and supply charge. I just don't know how our future generations are going to pay their bills.

The bottled-gas bill: hazmat fee and fuel-recovery fee. I don't deliver the fuel. Why should I have to pay a hazmat fee? Fuel recovery? For whom? Total: $17.45. I just don't know where it stops.

OK, I've got that off my chest. Now on a lighter note about taxes, there have been some rather funny ones in the past.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time