Editorial: Tax Freedom Day doesn’t really help the pocketbook

It will happen this coming week.

Americans will have to have their state and national tax returns filed by Tuesday. Two days later, on Thursday, Michigan residents will experience their Tax Freedom Day for 2014 – a theoretical date where the state’s residents have collectively earned enough income to pay off their total federal, state and local tax bills for the year.

According to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, Michigan will be the 28th state to reach that point. This year the first was Louisiana on March 30, while the last will be New Jersey and Connecticut on May 9.

According to the Tax Foundation’s statistics, Americans will spend more on taxes in 2014 than they will on food, clothing and housing combined.

Is it any wonder local residents are startled when they reach for their wallets these days?

In Alpena we will be experiencing water rates increase this year. The cost for most basics – groceries, clothing, energy – are on the rise. Earlier this week gas prices in Northeast Michigan rose 20 cents overnight. In fact, if you think gas rates have been crazy so far this year, they have.

According to GasBuddy.com, the Great Lakes region has experienced the steepest gas price hike since New Year’s Day than anywhere in the country. In Michigan motorists are paying, on average, 68 cents more for gas then they did Jan. 1.

The news doesn’t get better. According to the website’s analysts, “the rise in prices likely will persist for several more weeks” as refineries move to switch production from winter blended gasoline to summer blends.

So excuse us if we’re not getting too excited about Tax Freedom Day this year.

In the words of Janis Joplin, “freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose.”