Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Q: This morning I heard on the radio that Vermont and Maine have the highest levels of combined local and state taxation. On the other hand, if you exclude Alaska, which reduces the net taxes on residents by sharing its oil revenues, New Hampshire has the lowest level of combined local and state taxation. That is of course why the radio hosts were making such a big deal out of this. But it’s also interesting to see Massachusetts below the mid-point; I’ve heard of this for years, but never had the real data before.


The section of the chart that adds in the federal taxes doesn’t really surprise me – the federal taxes are directly related to the relative level of income, so they are about what you’d expect.

The web site also has some other interesting data, such as, which states pay more than they receive, and vice versa.

So much for “Taxachusetts” and other over-quoted misperceptions about taxation within the states!

A: Look at the chart from 1970-2007 http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/460.html, and you can see how the Taxachusetts label got stuck based on the experience of the 1970s and early 1980s. What you see now is certainly better, the result of Proposition 2.5 and some would say 16 years of Weld/Celluci//Swift/Romney. And what happened when Deval Patrick showed up on Beacon Hill and mumbled the words “fiscal discipline.” He was raked over the coals about his Cadillac and his drapes and his wife’s aide – by his fellow Democrats and the liberal press.

In the Midwest, the state with the high tax reputation was Minnesota, and that has remained true. More recently, Ohio has joined the high tax list. Perhaps Lydenberg has some insight into that. But there’s more to it than taxes. Massachusetts has a median household income of $52,354, compared to $48,508 for Vermont and $57,323 for New Hampshire. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States#Income_by_state

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Settle a bet

Q: You need to settle a bet. I think that Mormonism is a real liability for Mitt Romney. I said Iowans would vote for a Jew before they would vote for a Mormon.
So in a head to head vote, who carries Iowa, Joe Lieberman or Mitt Romney?

A: That’s a tough one, but I think you need to pay up.

(1) Joe Lieberman got no delegates at the 2004 Iowa caucuses. http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/primaries/pages/states/IA/

(2) Iowa is one of the states (then a territory) the Mormons crossed on their great migration from Illinois to Utah. There could very well be more Mormons in Iowa than Jews. I can’t find the stats on that.

(3) In a ranking of "Family Values", based on marriage rate, divorce rate, suicide rate, AIDS rate data from the World Almanac of the U.S.A. Utah was ranked 4th highest in the nation (with statistics most indicative of traditional family values). The states that ranked higher by this cumulative score were Iowa, Idaho, and South Dakota. http://www.adherents.com/largecom/lds_dem.html. It’s been observed that between Romney and McCain (one divorce) and Guiliani (two divorces) it’s ironic that Romney the Mormon is the only monogamist.

(4) The religious affiliation of Iowa though largely Christian tend toward the more tolerant mainstream denominations:

Roman Catholic – 23%
Lutheran – 16%
Methodist – 13%
Baptist – 5%
Presbyterian – 3%
Pentecostal – 2%
Congregational/United Church of Christ – 2%
Other Protestant or general Protestant – 11%
Other Christian – 1%
Other Religions – 6%
Non-Religious – 13%
Did not answer – 5%

Sunday, April 1, 2007

2008 is starting to get interesting

I went to a John Prine show at Sanders Theatre on Saturday night. He performed the song “Grandpa was a Carpenter” that has the famous “voted for Eisenhower” line. He told the audience that someone is trying to do a political parody on his song. I did some research and found this http://www.myspace.com/americanmusicman.