Making Data More Accessible

National tax transparency website needed

Have you ever wondered what your true federal tax bill is? We all know our income tax bill, but what about all of the other federal taxes assessed separately for various activities, services or products? The Tax Foundation has a slew of data on various federal taxes here: http://taxfoundation.org/taxdata/

 

We already have a national spending website, and that's nothing to sneeze at, but shouldn't the other half of the equation--the revenue half--be just as transparent?

 

The federal government should create an online tax hub of information where individuals can go to calculate their average annual federal tax burden. It should be user-friendly, comprehensive and the data should be mashable. The website would be designed to answer one basic question: How much do I pay? Eventually, we could probably link the spending and tax websites together. That would be the ideal world--where users could compare inputs to outputs.

 

In Washington state, we have already created a comprehensive, user-friendly tax transparency website. You can see the site here: http://www.taxsleuth.com/

 

We humans have problems with scale. For the average person, $700 billion means absolutely zilch. But $700 means something--so does $7,000 or $77,000. If people could see their individual tax bill with their own eyes, it would change the way we evaluate government programs.

 

Taxpayers are picking up the tab for every government program and project. Shouldn't we be able to see how much these grand plans will cost each one of us? This website would help people understand that it's not "that other guy" picking up the tab; it's you, your children, your neighbors, and your community.

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Idea No. 3296