25 January 2011

Don't Blame Us for the State of the Union

American Express was kind enough to send us a year-end statement totaling our 2010 spending. It's totally against their interest to do that, as the bottom line was enough to make us cut up all of our credit cards. (I am, of course, just being melodramatic. We didn't cut up our credit cards.) We obviously had a lot of one-time house expenses, like the wiring supplies, our dining chairs, granite that we paid for directly, etc., so I can't beat myself up over it too much. (And to be clear, we pay off our balance every month.)

In fact, we should probably get some kind of economic stimulus award for spending as much as we did. Seriously. On this one credit card (which we used for almost everything, although not for Dash's vet bills, which were substantial in 2010), we charged more than my annual salary at my first two jobs after law school. Here's hoping that 2011 brings a return to the modest credit card bills we're used to....

The Texas Legislature, which only meets for six months every two years, reconvened this month, and the budget crisis is their biggest challenge this session. Since Texas has no state income tax, and property taxes go to various local jurisdictions, the state depends heavily on sales tax revenue. Although the details have yet to be worked out, it's looking like there are going to be significant cuts to all levels of education, social services, and state employee benefits. We've tried to do our part (and building a house really couldn't have come at a better time for the economy), but I don't think we quite generated $27 billion in sales tax revenue.

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