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Republican Governors Aren't for Fair Taxes

Posted by Karen Traeger on Jan 28 2015
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By:  Mary von Euler

Eight Republican Governors aren’t really bucking their party line, as Sunday’s New York Times news story implied (Jan.25, 2015). Substituting a sales tax for an income tax is the same old regressive Republican way to soak the poor. Michigan’s Governor Rick Snyder proposes raising sales and gas taxes. Utah’s Governor Gary Herbert has increased the cigarette tax and would like to extend that tax to e-cigarettes (no problem with me there). South Carolina’s Nikki Haley would raise the gas tax, but only if the legislature agrees to cut the income tax. South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard would raise the gas tax and other fees on motor vehicles. Kansas Governor Sam Brownback now favors increasing cigarette and liquor taxes, having dug the state into a budgetary hole by slashing income and business taxes in his first term. Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval has called for unspecified tax increases to pay for education. Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey is postponing a campaign promise to eliminate the income tax. The propo
sed taxes are regressive, but the governors are at least recognizing a need to pay for some government services, such as for road repairs and education. Perhaps that is newsworthy, as the Times implies. Maine Governor Paul LePage’s plan is blatantly regressive: increase the sales tax and apply it to more goods and services, but only to offset lowering the income tax and eliminating the estate tax.

Arkansas, Mississippi, and Nebraska governors are sticking to their services-be-damned tax-cutting ideology, while in Maryland and Illinois new governors have promised not to increase taxes, despite budget short-falls.

To pay for necessary government services, ADA has long advocated fair taxes that will off-set inequality and stimulate the economy: the Earned Income Tax Credit and steeply progressive income and estate taxes. These leave more money in the pockets of low-income families who must spend their earnings on necessary goods and services, giving a boost to local businesses and manufacturing.

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