Category Archives: Economy

Disneyland Is Simply Unaffordable Again

Disneyland decided to do another price increase for their park, maybe they are trying to recover money for the flop John Carter that was released earlier this year. I did lament the price increases in 2008 in an earlier blog post. However, the price will rise to $87 on May 20th. Going to Disneyland seems more of a pipe dream for me since I last visited fifteen years ago for 40 dollars a ticket. I know Disney wants to get Californians to buy a yearly pass, but for casual tourists who may want a full days visit  it does not seem like a good deal. Frequent visitors may just visit 2-3 rides and just go home, but the casual visitors who spend a whole day there end up buying food and drink and gifts which should help the bottom line just as much.

I do lament the fact that I did not visit the park during the register your birthday for a free ticket promotion, but perhaps they should have a feature where if you have a family member buy a ticket at full price, you can get in for free on your birthday where they would still make the money.

California Adventure is still under construction where a good percentage of the park is in limbo and they still ask for full price as well. Maybe as a concession, they should charge $59 for California Adventure until most of the new rides and attractions are up and maybe they could help boost attendance at the same time, while keeping customers happy.

I guess we have countless entertainment options such as sports events, music events or even going to Las Vegas for some amusement. Disneyland’s price increases remind me of Jerry Brown’s fiscal policies, raise fees to get revenue and then get less revenue in the long run.

Sales Taxes on Amazon

Many of us are bemoaning the idea of having to pay sales taxes for out of state purchases. We forget that there is a thing called the use tax. The use tax is basically the same as the sales tax.

Texas is expected to start paying sales taxes for Amazon purchases and Californians will begin this process in September. I will likely make one big purchase in August before this happens.

Stores like Target and Barnes and Noble resent the competitive disadvantage they have with Amazon, but that is the nature of economics in a dog eat dog world. However, in certain parts of our state they have sales tax rates 2% higher than most of the cities in our state such as Pico Rivera and South Gate. If I lived in that city I would march with my feet if I wanted to buy a laptop, a mobile phone or car because it would leave the city in a competitive disadvantage. Paying an extra 10 bucks for the laptop I recently purchased just because if I lived in Pico Rivera or South Gate is punitive for the low income communities. Seems like the only legal maneuver would be is to hop to Orange County or San Bernardino County and buy your high end devices or vehicles there.

Oddly we can evade sales taxes between cities in our state, but the state wants us to make it where we can not evade the taxing hands of the state. We should make a compromise where if you buy out of state you would be taxed at the base rate without the extra money for the city and county at the rate of 7.25%. This would be the best idea because the state can still fund the public services and we still can make sure our brick and mortar merchants do not get handicapped as well.

I understand we need to fund our public services, but when you tax too high people will tell the government how much is enough? We are not Sweden.

I think the best idea for the use tax is to state that micro transactions would be waived from the use tax. I do not think we should have to record the 46 cents for a 6 dollar book, but any use tax over five bucks from a transaction should be liable. Or if you owe more than twenty bucks from a particular merchant then you are liable.

I did ask mint.com to have a section where it would help people keep track of their use tax, but they never bothered to look at my suggestion.

I guess the best idea in the future is to think hard in what I would like to own so I would not have to worry about paying much in taxes.

Borders Store Shutdowns

A sad tale is coming to an end for 30% of the stores of Borders, the bookseller chain facing difficulty in a tough economy and digital book selling.

The Chino and Montclair locations are being shut down, but if you like having a choice in where you buy your books can consider the Rancho Cucamonga location. Maybe the Barnes and Noble store in Montclair will get more business and will want to hire 1 or 2 more people due to the loss of the Montclair borders store.

The Borders company is calling it right-sizing, but actually it is down sizing.

Also its ironic that the people who run and manage the company have delusions of grandeur thinking they could afford to buy the Barnes and Noble chain.

And with bankruptcies you should use up your gift cards as soon as possible.

The Use Tax

I know most of us visit and shop at places such as Amazon.com. Most of us have purchased products there because generally you do not have to pay sales tax and it is not added to your invoice.

Not so fast fellow Californians, we are supposed to pay something called the Use Tax where if you use, give away, store, or consume the item in this state you are obligated to pay the use tax.

I know it is sad that the sales tax has became a very regressive piece of taxation where in some towns it reaches almost as a ten percent tax such as in Pico Rivera or Southgate, which seems absurd when their population is not traditionally rich enough to absorb all these costs.

It is natural for people to evade taxation, when taxation is too high people do their best to avoid paying the tax such as small business owners fleeing California due to its regulation and high costs of doing business in the state.

Continue reading The Use Tax

Responding to Robert Cruickshank

Robert wrote a diary on the site he is a regular diarist for at the Calitics blog reflecting about California’s unemployment rate. Here is my response to his diary.

I do not see anything about a vision for helping to create private sector jobs as well. I know firing public sector employees would cause more economic instability, but we need to learn how to create a business climate that would make private sector businesses want to take root in California or expand their existing businesses so we could get tax revenue to help keep those public sector employees employed.

It would be a great day for our state if we read in the news about 84 companies who moved to our state for business or expanded their operations here instead of the reverse.

There can be things we can do to help the economic recovery that does not require messing with overtime or lunch/break or worker protection regulations. Which is one thing I strongly disagree with Senator Dutton.

I do not expect us to spend the money we do not have. I do not want us to become Illinois. Maybe Proposition 1A would of been a good idea, protect our public services, and save money for the next rainy day. I thought we are not allowed to keep budget deficits compared to the federal government.

The cavalier attitudes of the Republican nominees in California and Nevada telling the unemployed let them eat cake is very counter productive. I have more respect for Reid than Sharon Angle even though both parties could of have nominated different people. We need to stand united where the public sector and the private sector should work together in building a stronger economy for our state. It will take shared sacrifice where both sides will have to lose something for the stability of our state.

The Vicious Job Market

Since my current job cut back my pay almost 20-30 percent each year, I have tried sending my applications to many places around my area. It seems I have been rejected or ignored many times so far.

I remember when the economy was so good back in 2006 where companies were paying bounties to any person walking in because people did not want a mininum wage job and were hoping for a good 30k plus a year job.

Unfortunately the economy crashed and many of us are looking for opportunity. Recently I applied for an upscale furnishing/clothing outlet yesturday and I came at 2pm when their job event was advertised from 1 to 7 in the evening and they said they would call me back, no luck yet.

My sister said we should keep on trying and for those of us under employed or unemployed something good will come. Maybe if our president offered a meaningful stimulus that delivered jobs and careers to the people who lost their jobs it will mean more than the pork barrel spending and it would be a good meaningful comeback for America.

Smoke a Pack for the children

People hate tax increases, but they love it when the tax increases hit home when it does not affect them. Recently congress wants to renew and expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program by financing it with a 61 cent increase in the federal cigarette tax. However when you combine cigarette taxes from the state and federal governments it will be obvious that cigarette consumption will decline due to the cost of smoking.

It may be a positive externality for people to stop smoking, but when you create a government program it needs to be fed with your tax dollars. When tax dollars are missing from a funding source then our representatives will be happy to raise taxes elsewhere, perhaps in your pocketbook.