Gov. Bobby Jindal’s announcement today that he wants to dump the state’s personal and corporate income tax and make up the difference with sales taxes has been pretty well-received in a lot of quarters, as the announcement has made its way into a fairly wide swath of national news reports and gotten Jindal some good notices among the low-tax crowd.
But it was virtually impossible not to foresee that the state’s left-wing activists would go to war against the idea. And the Louisiana Budget Project, which draws funding from George Soros’ Open Society Institute, was first out of the gate in sending a release out to trash Jindal for attempting to craft a tax system which can compete with Texas.
The Louisiana Budget Project’s release:
“Any true ‘tax reform’ should fix Louisiana’s chronic revenue shortage, which has resulted in the elimination of hospice care for the terminally ill, battered women being turned away from shelters and cuts in mental health services for children,” LBP Director Jan Moller said.
“At a bare minimum, a tax overhaul should not be an excuse to make the state’s poorest citizens pay more, and they would suffer the most from the governor’s proposal to raise sales taxes. While we are glad the governor plans to keep the existing exemption on food, drugs and residential utilities and rebate programs for low-income workers, we fear these steps won’t be enough to cushion the blow on the state’s most vulnerable citizens.
“Louisiana already has one of the country’s most unfair tax systems, asking more of low-income people than those who are better off, and eliminating income taxes threatens to make this problem worse.”
Unfair, right. Do you know any poor people in Louisiana who pay more taxes than rich people do? No? Perhaps you don’t move in the same circles Jan Moller moves in.
Necessities poor people need – food for home consumption, prescription drugs and residential utilities – are exempt from sales taxes in Louisiana. Jindal’s revenue secretary Tim Barfield has already said they’ll seek to protect those exemptions so as to protect poor people who need that stuff to subsist. Flat-screen TV’s won’t be protected, though, so if you’re poor and a couple points on the sales tax will break you, maybe you’ll have to go the layaway route or do some bargain-shopping for plasma.
And that’s what Moller seems to be whining about – the price of consumer products for those with disposable income who don’t pay income taxes.
If that doesn’t give you a Cloward-Piven vibe, you’re not paying attention.
Hey, here’s an idea Jan Moller might want to chew on: what if we had less poor people to worry about? What if some of those poor people could become middle class taxpayer types?
That would probably be a good idea, right? We might all think that’s a good idea. Or not, but come with me on this: so, how do you get less poor people?
One way to do that would be to have a booming economy, where there are tons of jobs available and poor people can go work a job and make some money.
And making some money means you might pay income taxes. But if Jindal gets his way, that won’t be a problem in Louisiana anymore.
Which sure might be a good thing.
And it is in Texas. They don’t have a state income tax, and their economy has been kicking our butt for two generations now.
In other words, we have actual evidence that a system where you don’t get your revenue from income taxes works better than one where you do.
Naturally, Moller won’t be convinced by this line of thinking. How could he be? He actually believes that poor people pay more taxes than rich people in Louisiana fervently enough to make an absolute ass of himself by saying it. If you live in that world, the concept that growing the economy and providing opportunities for people to not be poor anymore by doing some work might alleviate problems of poverty is going to be foreign to you.
Regardless, the gauntlet has been thrown down and the Left’s leges have their marching orders and talking points – poor people are poor in Louisiana because rich people don’t pay enough in taxes, and the state moving toward a tax system which has worked to make more rich people and less poor people in Texas won’t do the same here.
You’ll hear this line of thinking from the Left. The question is, how many of the state legislators who don’t want to sound like far-left idiots will repeat it when the bill wiping out the state income tax is debated at the legislature?