Thursday, April 17, 2008

What part of 'temporary' don't they understand?

Yesterday Governor Napolitano vetoed a bill passed by the legislature which would have made permanent a temporary property tax cut that was passed in 2006 and is due to expire in 2009.

As the Governor noted, economic conditions have deteriorated in Arizona sharply since 2006. Arizona's economy is much more tied to the housing industry than most, so the mortgage meltdown has had severe repercussions here. We face a combined $3 billion state budget deficit over the next two years, so adding another quarter billion to that next year by extending the property tax cut would be, as she noted, "the height of fiscal irresponsibility." Over-reliance on the sales tax has compounded the problem-- in a recession people spend less so sales tax revenues are down (whereas, for example, a property tax tends to be a much more reliable and stable source of revenue.)

Advocates for the Republicans in the legislature and some in the business community (who were the beneficiaries of the tax cut) have howled that she is 'raising taxes.'

That is a competely stupid argument.

If a supermarket sells a bottle of pop for $1.39, but runs a managers special in which they announce, "THIS WEEK ONLY-- $.99" for the bottle of pop, then they are doing their customers a favor for a week. If the sale ends on schedule and the price returns to $1.39 (the normal price of the pop) it would be ridiculous to storm up to the store manager and claim that by ending the sale on the day they said they would, they are raising prices. Yet that is what advocates of extending the tax cut are doing. Instead of being grateful for the three years they don't have to pay their property tax, they are instead complaining that when it expires on schedule, they will see a 'tax increase.' Maybe they would be happier if it hadn't ever been passed at all, I suppose.

This argument, of equating the scheduled end of a temporary reduction in taxes with a 'tax increase' is breathtaking in its stupidity. But we will hear exactly the same argument nationally over the next couple of years as the Bush tax cuts (you know, the ones that were supposed to give us such a great economic success story this decade) expire.


wunelle said...

This is like the creationists' complaint about "gaps" in the fossil record (an argument without merit on the face of it). When another intermediate is found suddenly there are TWO gaps!

Eli Blake said...

I once proposed a scientific experiment that could be run to test evolution (the idea was to calculate based on best estimates with upper and lower bounds the number of generations of organisms there have been on the planet and how many changes there have been in the DNA sequencing to explain the diversity of life, and then take some bacteria and subject them to a range of environmental stresses and after a limited number of generations test their DNA and see how many mutations had in fact occured-- if evolution was false or not the only reason for a change in the gene pool then the number of such mutations would be insufficient to extrapolate over time to the number needed to transform a bacteria genome into a human.) I wrote it on a creationist website too.

Needless to say, I've not heard of any creationists actually conducting this experiment in a scientifically rigorous way even though if it did show insufficient change that could be taken as evidence that evolution alone would not explain the diversity of life.

So when I challenged them to 'put up or shut up,' they did neither.