Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Voted

So I voted this morning at the nearby church that was my polling place. I had to show ID, which I didn't know was required to vote here. And I got to use one of those wonderful paper-trail-free touch-screen machines, so there's no telling if my vote really got counted properly. (Aside from that, the machine was very pleasant and easy to use. Granted, not knowing if your vote is counted pretty much invalidates the whole thing no matter how nice the interface is.)

I got some pushback from Mosch on Referendum H, the one that "eliminates tax breaks for employers who hire illegal immigrants" (that's more or less how it's presented), so let me elaborate a bit on that. Referendum H basically says that if an employer claims deductions for wages paid to illegal immigrants on their federal tax returns, they will owe that money to the state, provided that they knew the workers were illegal at the time of hiring. (Just to be clear, there is not some state or federal tax exemption for hiring illegals; it's just that wages in general are a cost of business and are thus deductible from your income for tax purposes.)

So basically, if you knowingly hire illegal immigrants, claim their wages as a deduction on your federal taxes, and then admit this to the state on your state tax form, you will have to pay extra state taxes. The state gets to keep up to $150,000 of this money; the rest would be returned to taxpayers. (We get an income tax refund every year that the state has a surplus relative to some formula; the state doesn't get to keep the money and spend it on new things).

Let's assume I was pro-immigration (which I am) and unequivocally committed to enforcement of existing immigration laws (when in fact I am equivocally committed to it). I would still have to conclude that the only purpose of this almost completely ineffective ballot measure was to draw anti-immigration folks to vote so that they would (presumably) support related candidates and causes. Since I am not one of those anti-immigration folks, I am definitely not going to respond to this pathetic ploy by voting yes.

It'll be nice not to have the phone ring a thousand times a day for a while. And maybe I'll be getting less mail about how some people are grandmas and others hate seniors and want to make their drugs really expensive.

Of course, a Democratic takeover of Congress would be good too. We'll see!

1 comment:

rvman said...

It also gives the state an angle to go after employers who hire illegals, if the Feds fail to - Tax evasion. This is the state version of how the Feds took down Al Capone some years back. How they prove the 'knowingly' part is anyone's guess.