Remember this from a few days after the election?
"We've got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything," [Louisiana governor Bobby] Jindal told POLITICO in a 45-minute telephone interview. "We cannot be, we must not be, the party that simply protects the rich so they get to keep their toys."You didn't take that seriously -- did you?
Gov. Bobby Jindal is proposing to eliminate Louisiana's income and corporate taxes and pay for those cuts with increased sales taxes, the governor's office confirmed Thursday....You see the point of this, right? The reason for eliminating corporate taxes is obvious. Eliminating income taxes? Well, that's a bit more complicated. Income taxes, as a rule, are progressive -- even in Louisiana you pay a higher rate on higher levels of income.
Jindal said the plan would be revenue-neutral and that the goal would be to keep sales taxes "as low and flat as possible."
The governor's office has not yet confirmed or denied an article in The Monroe News-Star that reports eliminating the state income tax could require increasing the state sales tax from 4 percent to 7 percent.
Replace that with a flat sales tax and people who make less are screwed. The less you make, the greater the percentage of your income you have to spend. To oversimplify, if you need to spend your entire paycheck to survive, that's like a tax on 100% of your income -- while the person who makes a lot of money and can salt some of it away gets taxed on only some income (because only some gets spent).
Now, not everything is subject to sales tax in Louisiana -- for instance, there are "exemptions on groceries, residential utilities and medicine," we're told here.
Not clothing. Not furniture. Not a cheap TV or a gallon of gas.
Why lower taxes on the haves (and corporations especially) while raising them on the have-nots? We're told it's to compete with Texas. It's a race to the bottom. Texas budget cuts just get meaner and meaner. That's Jindal's model.
And meanwhile, up in Wisconsin:
Gov. Scott Walker pledged Thursday to cut income taxes in the state budget he signs this summer, calling it the best way to spark the economy. But he also said the reduction would be phased in over a number of years.Funny, I could swear I've heard that Walker "putting more money back in the hands of consumers" soundbite somewhere before. Where was it? Oh, yeah, it was in one of those articles about Jindal:
"For us, one of the biggest bangs for our buck is dropping the individual income tax rate, putting more money back in the hands of consumers and small business owners out there so that they in turn can invest that money, they can take out loans, they can move forward and put people to work. We're committed to doing that," the Republican governor told the Wisconsin Bankers Association at the group's annual Economic Forecast Luncheon in Madison.
"Eliminating personal income taxes will put more money back into the pockets of Louisiana families and will change a complex tax code into a more simple system that will make Louisiana more attractive to companies who want to invest here and create jobs...."It's almost as if some right-wing billionaire wrote one script and they're both reading from it!
Now, what might Walker do to make up for the tax shortfall?
Well, he didn't say. Maybe the plan is just to "starve the beast" and shrink government so small it can be drowned in a bathtub. I will point out that in 2010 a Walker adviser floated the idea of a 50% sales tax increase. That was very quickly walked back. But it clearly seemed like a good to somebody on the staff of David Koch's Favorite Governor.
A previous Walker budget, of course, raised taxes on the working poor.
If Republicans can't eliminate tax progressivity at the federal level -- which I think would have happened in about ten horrible D.C. days if we'd elected Mitt Romney and GOP majorities in the House and Senate -- then they'll do it at the state level wherever they have control. And they'll attract businesses, thus pressuring the other states.
And your grandchildren will ask, "Grandma? Grampa? What was the middle class?"