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“Pure Fanaticism”: Tax-Cutting Sam Brownback Pushing Huge Tax Increase–But Not For His Corporate Friends

As noted at Lunch Buffet, Louisiana Republicans finally caved in to Bobby Jindal’s demands that the state budget he’s screwed up can only be fixed if Grover Norquist goes along. Their counterparts in Kansas have not yet thrown in the towel in their fight to keep Sam Brownback from dragging them and the state to the bottom of fiscal hell. But he’s refusing to bend, and is now pre-blaming legislators for across-the-board budget cuts he says he’ll be forced to impose if solons don’t give him a budget that reflects his fanatical faith in supply-side economics.

According to the Topeka Capital-Journal‘s Tim Carpenter, it’s getting tense in Republican circles in that city, and Brownback even got “choked up” in one meeting with GOP legislators. And that’s understandable. He wants to insulate the out-of-state corporations to whom he’s given a huge tax cut from any budgetary pain, and can’t seem to figure out why legislators don’t just go along with his proposal to hike sales taxes on everybody else. If he’s rebuffed, obviously he has to cut the budget more, right?

Today it looks like Brownback may dry his tears, and in the words of Kansas City Star columnist Yael Abouhalkah, even have the “last laugh:”

Gov. Sam Brownback edged closer early Friday morning to his second greatest victory as the leader of Kansas government.

Shortly after 4 a.m., the House took the spineless way out and approved the largest tax increase in state history.

It was badly needed to fill the huge budget hole created by Brownback’s greatest “victory” — income tax cuts he pushed in 2012 for thousands of businesses.

Those cuts — as everyone knows by now — slashed state revenues by more than $600 million a year, imperiled funding for education and other state services, and caused the Kansas Legislature to continue meeting until Friday, the 113th day of a scheduled 90-day session….

[T]he Kansas Senate has already passed a similar bill to boost the sales tax — by the narrowest of margins last Sunday — but would still have to vote Friday to endorse the House’s action.

If that happens — and let’s hope it doesn’t — Brownback will have succeeded in making the Legislature come up with a solution for a mess he created, and for which he has never taken responsibility.

At least Bobby Jindal has the excuse of wanting really really badly to become President of the United States, and convincing himself his party and constituents owe it to him to help out by gutting their own public services and making a hash of the state tax code. In Brownback’s case, it’s pure fanaticism.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 12, 2015

June 16, 2015 Posted by | Kansas, Sam Brownback, Tax Increases | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Class Warfare, Republican Style

Republicans have finally found a group they think deserves a tax hike: People who don’t make enough money to pay income taxes.

At the recent GOP debate, all the 2012 presidential hopefuls were unanimous in claiming they would reject a deficit-reduction deal if it contained a 10-to-one ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. But as Dave Weigel writes, the GOP’s supposed anti-tax zealots have been strangely unified in arguing that Americans who pay no income taxes — but pay a variety of other taxes — should see their taxes go up:

Republican politicians didn’t make this argument — until the Obama era. What changed? For decades, the “lucky ducky” number, the percentage of Americans that pay no taxes, never rose above 30 percent. The Bush tax cuts pushed it over 30 percent, but not too far over. Then, in 2008 and 2009, the economy collapsed. The government responded with, among other things, new tax deductions.

The result: The percentage of people paying no income taxes spiked up to 47 percent and stayed there. When the Tea Party started rallying in 2009, it wasn’t protesting higher taxes, because federal income taxes were lower, with more loopholes. It was protesting the perception that productive Americans were shelling out for an ever-expanding class of moochers. And Republicans have taken the Tea Party’s lead.

Of course, as Weigel reminds us, these people do pay sales taxes, payroll taxes, gas taxes and the like. As an April 2010 report from Citizens for Tax Justice explained: “Most of these other taxes are regressive, meaning they take a larger share of a poor or middle-class family’s income than they take from a rich family. This largely offsets the progressivity of the federal income tax.” Fat City!

This tax-the-poor attitude is widely held among Republicans, who are currently positioning themselves to oppose an extension of the payroll tax credit. After having demanded Obama extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Republicans are now fretting that the payroll tax cut will increase the deficit. Extending the Bush tax cuts increased the debt by far more than an extension of the payroll tax cut will, but that was worth it, because cutting taxes on the wealthiest Americans is the GOP’s highest priority. It’s far more important than stimulating the economy by giving a tax break to people who might actually need the money.

Of course, we’re not supposed to call the GOP’s commitment to making sure the wealthiest Americans pay as little as possible in taxes   — and to increasing taxes on lower income folks — by its rightful name:  “Class-warfare.” That term only applies to socialists who think we ought to return to Clinton-era tax rates.

By: Adam Serwer, The Washington Post, August 23, 2011

August 24, 2011 Posted by | Class Warfare, Congress, Conservatives, Economic Recovery, Economy, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Income Gap, Lawmakers, Middle Class, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Tax Loopholes, Taxes, Teaparty, Wealthy | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

   

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