## Tax Opinion

I find it interesting that there are different rates for paying taxes based on how much someone makes. It kind of seems like a sort of penalty for people who have a higher annual income. The taxes paid by someone who makes \$100,000 a year are three times what someone who makes half of that pays! Maybe it would make more sense for there to just be a flat percentage of income everyone pays, regardless of what’s made? Of course, there’d be considerations for people with dependents and such, as there already are, but I’m wondering if that would work better? Maybe if that was applied to people who made more than, say, \$15,000 to \$18,000 a year?

## First Blog Post

I found it very interesting that a popular vote counting method, Borda, has such a flaw in which it can’t be used with only two candidates. It isn’t possible to get two different winners with only two candidates. Whoever wins the “first place” vote just wins, and that defeats the entire purpose of the Borda method.

## The NBA All-Star Game: A Sporting Event Decided By the Fans

If there’s one aspect of my life I take pride in, it’s being a sports nerd. Whether you’re talking Danny Ainge’s Celtics or the GOAT himself looking for ring number six this weekend, I’m always following some form of professional sports at any given moment. One event that caught my attention after today’s class was the NBA All-Star game, where viewers can vote for their favorite players to start/substitute for the Eastern and Western Conference (teams on the eastern side of the U.S. vs. teams on the west side). Below, I’ve found a couple of preference schedules that highlight the results of this year’s All-Star voting in the Eastern and Western conferences of the NBA.

In the terms of voting theory, we can see that this system determines which players from their respective positions in the league (frontcourt and backcourt) will be starting in the game next month. The top two guards on each team as well as the top three forwards will start for each team in the All-Star game. We can say that these starters were determined by the Plurality method, because the top two guards and top three frontcourt players were determined by popular vote.

I decided to find out how many possibly ways N players could be ranked by voters. With 10 total players in both guard and frontcourt categories on each team, this number can be found. I found there to be a grand total of 3,628,800 ways in which voters could rank the ten players for each position on each team. Why is this important? Well, in the end, the top two guards and top three frontcourt players from each category within a team are designated as starters (which is a pretty big deal to the players).

Please let me know if you have any basketball questions I can clarify for the above. In summation, I wanted to sort of show a realistic way in which the voting system we talked about today determines real life scenarios for real people. In this case, said event was the NBA All-Star game, the votes determining which players voted onto the All-Star teams will start and which will be on the bench.

## Should New Yorkers Pay Extra Taxes for Living Close to the Subway?

It is a well-known fact that the subway has provided a hefty sum to New York City’s economy. In 2016, the average weekday ridership was 5.7 million; talk about crowded.

There has been talk about some policymakers believing the subway should now profit from the financial benefits it provides, including it’s substantial contribution to property values.

The idea that property owners in the city should pay extra for their proximity to the subway is called “value capture”. According to the New York Times report, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat has “made value capture a prominent part of his plan to salvage the subway system by proposing to give the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) the power to designate ‘transit improvement subdistricts’ and impose taxes.” The governor’s proposal would mean that new projects for value capture could extend as far as a mile from a station. City officials scoffed at this notion, arguing that living a mile from a stop is hardly considered a connivence.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has proposed the idea of a “millionaire’s tax”; this tax would increase the income tax rate for you as a means of generating transit funding. Imagine being a resident of the bustling city of New York, and owning a home with your significant other. You also have two beautiful children together. You are able to go on vacations and give to charities, but of course you are still paying off those pesky student loans. When you pool together both of your annual incomes, the total comes to \$500,000.

Below is an example of this scenario, including 401k’s, and every other bill you pay.

Even though a family making \$500,000 annually is considered to be “upper-middle class”, they are only left over with \$7,300. That’s not even including saving for retirement.

Would you be satisfied with this outcome if this proposal succeeds?

I found this really interesting video about New Yorkers reactions to the subway and how the budget cuts on the subways themselves have affected their daily lives. Money from the MTA has actually gone into the state, and they have used that money as a piggy bank for other priorities having NOTHING to do with the subway.

https://nyti.ms/2Grud5J

Sources:

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/03/24/budget-breakdown-of-couple-making-500000-a-year-and-feeling-average.html

https://www.nytimes.com/video/nyregion/100000005550602/subway-status-emergency.html?action=click&contentCollection=nyregion&module=embedded&region=caption&pgtype=article

We all want to be millionaires, right?  At least I know I do.  What I didn’t know is that most millionaires live in the state of California, and that about 40,000 Californians report over a million dollars in income, compared to our neighboring state Vermont who has the least millionaires: only about 300 people in that state are millionaires.  In addition, more than 11,000 individual tax returns reported adjusted gross income above \$10 million.  That’s a crazy goal to hit.  With an income of about \$10 million, you could live in a house like this:

Pretty cool huh?

Another crazy fact is that our tax code has about 4 million words, and since about 17 years ago, there have been over four thousand changes to that tax code.

We all want to be a part of the top 1% of earners in the country, but you’ll need \$369,509 of annual income to be a part of that group. If you’re shooting to be within the top 10% of earners in the country, you’ll only need a little less than half of that, about \$116,555.

Have you ever wondered just how many people file their tax returns?  Turns out, the IRS receives over 140 million tax returns and collects just shy of one trillion dollars in taxes.

Want to find out more facts? Check out the link below:

## strange tax facts

As I was reading more about taxes, I came across some interesting facts. Some of them are still in place today, while others got cut – probably do to their foolishness. A few I found funny was:

1. In England there is a tax on televisions. Color televisions are taxed more than black and white televisions, and if a blind person has a television they only have to pay half the tax.

I think this is funny, obviously black and white TV’s are going to be the “basic” route, color is a little more money and a blind person has to pay half- since they get half the sensory out of it; audio.

2. In an effort to keep citizens healthy, France imposed a “soda tax” on all carbonated soft drinks in 2012. They’re now about 3.5% more expensive than other drinks.

I agree with this, and in hopes to make the countries healthier, soda should be taxed higher. Maybe it would deviate people away from it, while saving money and their health. But also because sugar is looked at as an addiction in some cases,  its also smart for the government to make more money, knowing people will still buy it because they are hooked. In some ways, taxing can be used in strategic ways based on human behavior!

## Weird Taxes

Let’s face it, taxes can be a boring, painful experience. This is why I have decided to focus my post on some of the weirder taxes out there. I’m picking out the ones that I thought were interesting, but I am leaving the link in case you guys want to take a peek.

1. Illinois has a very strange candy tax. The state has a 5% candy tax on top of the 1% food tax, but if flour was used to make the candy, it is just considered an “ordinary food” and is only taxed at the 1% rate. This means that you would pay the extra 5% for M&M’s, but not a KitKat bar.
2. Colorado considers coffee cup lids to be “nonessential,” and there is a 2.9% sales tax if you want a lid on your cup.
3. The state of Nevada gives out a free deck of cards when a tax return is filed.
4. The state of Alabama has a 10% tax on cards decks with 54 or fewer cards.
5. If you want vending machine fruit in California, there will be a 33% sales tax on it. You will not have to pay that if you buy the fruit at the grocery store.

Hope you enjoyed these facts! The link to these facts is right below!