Sunday, December 05, 2004

Taxation without representation 

Bush Fuck-The-Blues policies have only just started

As President Bush lays the groundwork for a possible overhaul of the U.S. tax code, one option under consideration would deal its biggest financial blow to citizens of blue states such as California and New York.

Some conservative activists are urging the Bush administration to scrap the federal deduction for state and local taxes as part of a broader plan to revamp the nation's tax system.

Although the proposal would hurt some taxpayers in nearly every state, it would hit hardest in states with higher-than-average income levels and bigger-than-average state and local tax burdens. High on the list are a number of blue states — those that were carried by Democrat Sen. John F. Kerry in last month's presidential election.

Taxpayers in California and New York, for example, which have top state income tax rates of 9.3% and 6.5% respectively, would be highly affected; residents of Florida and Texas, which have no state income taxes, much less so.

"There's no question this effort would punish blue states," said Rep. Robert T. Matsui (D-Sacramento), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Over time, he said, it could force state and local governments to cut expenditures.

Supporters of the change insist the disproportionate effect on blue states is a coincidence, but they acknowledge that the proposal could hurt most in states that voted against Bush.

"Let me put it like this: It certainly isn't something that's a discouragement," said one prominent conservative. "Yes, we talked about this. The fact that it hits blue states is not something that's been missed among Republicans."

But in a political complication, some blue states that would be hit hardest by the tax change are led by Republicans. If the White House adopts the proposal, it could create a rift with some of the GOP's biggest stars in those states, such as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and New York Gov. George E. Pataki, among others.

Right. Let's give Bush the benefit of the doubt.

It remains unclear whether the administration will adopt the proposal. Some administration and congressional advisors said they believed the idea had been floated as a trial balloon to see how much support or opposition it attracted.

Bush has said one of his top second-term priorities is to revamp the tax code so that it is simpler, fairer and more pro-growth. He also has said he would be guided by the recommendations of a bipartisan commission he planned to appoint by the end of the year.

Right. Hey, I'm with Norquist on this one—"bipartisanship is date rape." Why on earth would any Democrat participate in an effort designed to fuck their own party and their own constituents?

Bush has hinted strongly that his proposal would preserve two popular tax breaks: the deductions for mortgage interest and charitable contributions. That [Bush] has not mentioned preserving the state and local tax deduction has been interpreted by some as a signal that it is fair game as the administration looks for ways to finance other tax changes.

"This is very real," said one congressional staffer close to the tax discussion. "They need the money desperately…. It's one of the only things they can attempt to do to finance tax reform."

When a Republican says "reform," keep your hand on your wallet!

Last year, 5.5 million California households, or 37% of all tax filers in the state, claimed deductions for state and local income taxes. In New York, 3.2 million households, or 37%, did.
(via LA Times)

So, the citizens that actually use their taxes to provide services for their citizens (unlike, say, Texas) are going to get penalized. Nice! Now the whole country can be like Texas!

49% of the country has no effective representation.

It's taxation without representation.

What is to be done?

NOTE I'm writing "Blues" instead of "Blue States" because it's clear that the all-too-seductive Blue/Red state meme is designed to force Democrats into the corner of being a permanent minority, by making it impossible to reach out to the "purples." So when I say Blue, I mean, essentially, Democratic voters—predominantly concentrated in the cities and around the ("blue") coasts, lakes, and rivers. And I'm guessing that the Bush taxes will hit Blue cities just as badly, if not worse, than Blue states.

UPDATE Alert readers Nancy and flory point out that even though the Blues are fucked relatively more than the Reds, the Reds are getting fucked too.


No Texas taxpayer is going to look at relative fuckedness and think this is a good idea. Trust me - I know a few people who recently moved from CA to TX and think their taxes have skyrocketed because of the property tax bills they have to write.

I almost hope Bush does try this. Any red state Rethug Congresscritters who went along with it would be in a world of hurt electorally. If they opposed it, Bush's man date would be a thing of the past.


I read the article in LA Times and although it will hit the blues the hardest, it will hit me in a red state as well. I will no longer get to deduct from my federal income tax the money I pay for taxes on my house. I will be able to take the mortgage interest so far but without the taxes deduction I will be back in the standard deduction. Trust Bush to screw up anything he touches!

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