Republican governors are raising taxes across the land, but at whose expense?
Believe it or not, Republican governors are raising taxes across the country. At least eight Republican governors are taking a time out from their ideology in order to deal with budget shortfalls and a lack of sufficient government spending.
Surprising as it may seem to some, no one is more shocked than the Republicans who serve on these state legislatures. It must be hard to watch their leaders slap their own philosophy in the face.
For example, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan and Gov. Paul LePage of Maine have proposed raising the sales tax. Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota are considering a gas tax. Gov. Gary Herbert of Utah has increased the tobacco tax, proposed extending it to e-cigarettes and said he was content with an increase in the gasoline tax.
Meanwhile, newly elected Republican Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona has put off a campaign promise to eliminate the state income tax in the face of a $1 billion budget shortfall. It would seem, on the surface anyway, that Republican Governors are learning the Brownback lesson.
Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who recently won re-election despite destroying the Kansas budget with tax cuts, has recently called for raising cigarette and liquor taxes and slowing planned reductions in the income tax rate to help reduce Kansas’ massive budget shortfall.
Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, a conservative Republican in Nevada, said “My jaw dropped,” after hearing Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval propose a $1.1 billion tax increase for education this month. “Whether we kill it by five votes or 15 votes or 25 votes, we are going to kill it.” She said.
Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, whose no-tax pledge has led to these budget shortfalls in the first place, said he was annoyed by some governors who were calling for tax increases. “You can’t just look at governors these days… You’ve got to look at the legislatures. The legislature in North Carolina is much more pro-growth and anti-tax than the governor.”
He may be right. Some of these Republican State Legislators will fight their governors tooth and nail. My question is why? On the surface it may seem that these Governors are trying everything they can to balance the budget, but in reality, what they are doing is very Reaganesque.
Nikki Haley, said she would allow the state to raise its gas tax, a move she had previously promised to veto, but only if the legislature cut the income tax by almost a third. Paul LePage called for increasing the sales tax, but only to offset the cost of lowering the income tax and eliminating the estate tax.
Throughout these states (and others like Arkansas and Mississippi), Republican Governors have been subtly redistributing wealth from the bottom to the top for years. The lessons of Kansas might have been learned, but their conclusions appear to have been wrong.
To deal with the consequences of cutting income and corporate taxes across the board, along with lower capital gains and estate taxes, these Republican Governors are raising taxes on things that affect the poor and middle class the most; sales taxes, gas taxes, tobacco and alcohol taxes.
While the rich and their paid for politicians like to decry taxes in general. I don’t think the wealthy man who saved millions in taxes last year will care too much when he needs to fork over a few extra dollars when he buys a car or box of cigars. These new Republican tax hikes are just another way to tax the middle-class consumer.
So the question remains, are Republicans backtracking on their pledge not to raise taxes? They most certainly are, but it’s hardly commendable when you consider who they are raising them on. It’s just another chapter in disaster capitalism. Budget crisis brought on by tax cuts for the rich? Let’s tax the ones who can least afford it…
The funny thing is, Republicans are gearing up to run for 2016 on a platform of income inequality. Good luck with that.