Saturday, April 04, 2009

Tax cut proposal in the face of massive budget cuts is an outrage

Three years ago the state legislature passed a temporary, three year suspension of a statewide property tax known as the equalization tax. The tax is designed to provide funding for school and community college districts that have a lower tax base relative to their population than more affluent areas.

The tax primarily affects some businesses, especially in more affluent areas.

The tax is due to expire this year. And like most temporary tax cuts, it appears that some of those affected by the tax consider it a birthright to have this tax taken off the books. They are already shouting about how when it comes back it will be a tax 'increase.'

Of course that is patently ridiculous. It is no more a tax increase than it would be a 'price hike' if your local merchant put an item on sale for a few weeks and then ended the sale on schedule. Rather than being grateful for being given a three year tax holiday, these individuals and businesses are howling about a 'tax increase' they will get when the tax cut expires on schedule.

But beyond that they are lobbying the legislature to not just extend the tax holiday but make it permanent.

Which of course in 2006 when it was passed, they might have had a case, but in 2009 with the state facing a $3 billion budget shortfall and slashing funds for virtually everything in the state, and in addition we may be asked later this year to vote on a 1% sales tax statewide.

Under these circumstances giving a tax cut to a few wealthy business owners who think they should be exempt from the shared sacrifice that the rest of the state is undergoing would be not only foolish but immoral.

They do of course have some lobbyists working on the legislature. But hopeully our legislators will have the backbone to not buckle under this special interest legislation.

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