Rightwing Ground Sloth has left a new comment on your post "No More Mr. Nice Guy <http://www.ralphlong.com/2008/04/no-more-mr-nice-guy.html> ":
Ralph...you really should try and explain how tax increases ends up benefiting the economy. I'd love to read about that. It seems to me that Tennessee is doing reasonably well and they have no income tax at all.
I'm no finance guy. Don't even play one on TV. But it seems to me that if you raise taxes then prices go up as well. Those companies you are taxing are going to offset that tax on the backs of the very people you are trying to help. Raise income taxes on those people in Kentucky that pay taxes would only serve to make them tighten up even more than they already are with gas prices where they are. When they tighten up on their spending the sales tax receipts plummet. Again, I'm no finance guy, but that just doesn't make sense to me.
While those state employees toil away for nothing(compared to their private sector peers) and look into next year at their proposed 1% raise you are suggesting we raise their taxes so they end up LOSING money with that raise? They are already losing money to the 2.7% inflation rate! They have been going backwards for the past several years anyway...you tax hike won't help that.
So here is the ‘splainin’:
Dear Mr. Sloth,
First, Tennessee does have an income tax:
The individual income tax is imposed only on individuals and other entities receiving interest from bonds and notes and dividends from stock.
Second, Tennessee’s primary source of revenue is the sales tax:
Generally, the state's sales and use tax rate is 7 percent.
Food is taxed at 5.5 percent, but candy, dietary supplements and prepared food are taxed at the increased 7 percent rate.
Local sales taxes also are collected and those rates vary from 1.5 percent to 2.75 percent.
When it comes to soaking the poor Tennessee is one the best states in the country.
From Who Pays? A Distributional Analysis of the Tax Systems in All 50 States. “
When all Tennessee taxes are totaled up, the 2003 study found that:
The state and local tax rate on the best off one percent of Tennessee families—with average incomes of $828,000—is 3.3% before accounting for the tax savings from federal itemized deductions. After the federal offset, the effective tax rate is a mere 3.0%.
The average tax rate on families in the middle of the income distribution—those earning between $24,000 and $38,000—is 8.8%. After the federal offset, the rate is 8.7%, nearly three times the effective rate the richest pay.
But the tax rate on the poorest Tennessee families—those earning less than $14,000—is the highest of all. At 11.7% it is nearly four times the effective rate of the wealthiest Tennesseans.
By comparison Kentucky Sales and Use Tax are imposed at the rate of 6% of gross receipts or purchase price. There are no local sales and use taxes in Kentucky.
Kentucky does not tax food.
….food and food ingredients means substances, whether in liquid, concentrated, solid, frozen, dried, or dehydrated form, that are sold for ingestion or chewing by humans and are consumed for their taste or nutritional value. Excluded from the exempt food and food ingredients are the subcategories of (a) alcoholic beverages, (b) tobacco, (c) candy, (d) dietary supplements, (e) soft drinks, and (f) prepared food.
So if you want to talk about being poor and paying taxes then I’d rather be in Kentucky.
Third, there is no legislation to “raise income taxes on those people in Kentucky”.
Fourth, the sales tax increases that were killed by the state Senate were on:
Commercial janitorial services, including carpet, upholstery, and window cleaning; armored car services; security services; Chartered air flight services if a pilot is furnished, including hot air balloon flights; and Commercial linen services, excluding: Commercial uniform services; and Commercial linen services provided to hospitals and nursing homes.
Now I realize that those taxes will impose a burden on individuals needing to have their hot air balloon cleaned before the armored car arrives with their money, but I can live with that.
Fifth, considering the real costs of smoking, everyone would be better off if it went away. The arguments made by the Tobacco Apologistas just don’t hold up.
Once again let’s look at the real costs of smoking.
Annual health care costs in Kentucky directly caused by smoking - $1.50 billion
Portion covered by the state Medicaid program - $487 million
Residents' state & federal tax burden from smoking-caused government expenditures - $602 per household
Smoking-caused productivity losses in Kentucky - $2.13 billion
If there is one single answer to "how tax increases ends up benefiting the economy" then just add up the billions of dollars that would be added to the Kentucky economy if tobacco went away.
Yes, a tax on smoking is a regressive tax; it will impact the poor more than the rich. And yes, I know you can’t legislate morality or health. But you can sure tax stupid behavior. I see this tax as much a social policy as a revenue generation device. The tax makes good long term health policy and good long term fiscal policy.
Sixth, successive governors and legislatures over the last four decades have systematically stripped financial rewards from state employees. I have repeatedly said the common way to balance the budget is to do it on the backs of state employees.
If we had a sane tax policy, then state workers could be paid amounts comparable to the private sector. The plantation mentality, (guess who the slaves are), used by a long line of Kentucky politicians culminating in David Williams will continue to prevail as long as sound bites like “No New Taxes” resonate with the voters.
For state workers there are two alternatives, either shut up and take it or unionize. If you don’t like the idea of a union look at the teachers. As a group the legislators and the Governor are a hell of a lot more scared of what the KEA is going to do than what state workers are going to do.
Please feel free to use these talking points when discussing the issues with other sloths.