Saturday, February 14, 2009

Show Me Das Geld

One of the disturbing things about having a newborn is developing 'baby brain'. It begins with the exhaustion of late pregnancy, and blossoms into full-blown incompetence within days of the birth. I hate it. I hate feeling scattered and out of control. It's obviously fatigue coupled with concentrating too much of your attention on tiny creatures and not the job at hand.

Or maybe I'm just having my brains sucked out of my boobs.

That would certainly explain my recent 'genius alert' moment. I was sitting on the couch, nursing and watching TV *you lead a fascinating life, really, you should write about it*, and a trailer for True Lies with Arnold Schwarzeneggar and Jamie Lee Curtis came on. 'Hmm' I thought, as more brain cells were leached out of my breasts, 'Arnold Schwarzeneggar hasn't really been in anything lately has he'.

There is much truth in stupidity, and this was a classic example, because yes I do in fact realize that he's now the Governor of this State, which would probably explain his lack of recent Hollywood blockbusters. Then again, he doesn't seem to have done anything even so. Take the recent much publicized budget crisis. California is out of money. The 9th biggest economy in the world and we're broke. One of the 'solutions' or 'patch jobs' they've come up with is to delay issuing State Income Tax refunds, unemployment and disability checks, or issue IOUs which banks may or may not choose to honour. Quite frankly if you were a bank - would you? Precisely. This little bombshell was dropped by my friend R. in the hospital the morning after I had Lucy. 'I hope you weren't counting on that maternity leave pay the way we're counting on our tax refund' she said.

Not the new baby gift I was hoping for.

For those not from the States, you pay a plethora of payroll taxes over here, (which you could consider somewhat ironic given this nation's history). In addition to Medicare, FICA & SDI you pay both Federal and State income taxes, and at the end of the year if you've had too much tax withheld you're issued a refund. It's generally a better idea to err on the side of caution when withholding payroll taxes so you avoid owing shed loads of money to the Government. Or at least it used to be a good idea. Now the people who've played it safe are left wondering if they're ever going to get that money back. That would be us.

Doesn't sound much of an incentive to pay your taxes in the first place does it?

With owning rental properties, and having a mortgage the size of Africa's debt we have always 'banked' (ha ha) on getting money back on our taxes. We were counting on that money, just as we were rather hoping that I would receive State disability money for my maternity leave. Not an IOU, not a 'we're going to delay issuing checks for 30 days or more'. I realize that most councils, local authorities, States etc are struggling to make ends meet in the current economic crisis as there are increased demands for unemployment benefits, food stamps and the like, and I also realize that Arnie is not entirely to blame. People are joking that we should write IOUs for our payroll taxes, for our mortgage bills and the like, but really it's not a laughing matter. That our State should even be considering IOUs for State refunds is insulting. Everybody deserves their tax refunds, plenty of people desperately need the money, have already spent it as they've been 'budgeting on it'. Apparently the State of California is guilty of doing the same.


Almost American said...

California pays state disability for maternity leave? Wow!

My 1st maternity leave I got 'disability pay' from my employer. Because it was disability pay it was, for some reason, not taxed. I was making more money than when I was working! Next baby, I was expecting the same thing, but my employer had dropped the insurance and was 'self-insuring' so technically they were just paying me and it wasn't a disability payment - so I had to pay taxes :-(

ExpatKat said...

How do you want your IOU, boiled or fried? Glad I'm feeding a family of 5 in Washingston State. We haven't come to IOU's quite yet.

Hyphen Mama said...

I wonder if I can pay for our health insurance with IOU's.

This whole thing is bordering on the completely ridiculous. Regardless of the state in which you live.