Archive for tax cuts

Kansas: "Another GOP state going to hell"

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what's the matter with kansas

This is why I adore John Dean. Well, one of 1000 reasons. His tweet about Kansas was spot on. Come to think of it, what is the matter with Kansas? Rhetorical. See: Brownback, Gov. Sam.

The New York Times' (and MSNBC's) Josh Barro has the story, a story that begins with the sentence, "Kansas has a problem." No kidding:

In April and May, the state planned to collect $651 million from personal income tax. But instead, it received only $369 million.

In 2012, Kansas lawmakers passed a large and rather unusual income tax cut. It was expected to reduce state tax revenue by more than 10 percent, and Gov. Sam Brownback said it would create “tens of thousands of jobs.”

Wait... don't tell me how this ends. Let me guess. GOP fail? Brownback fail? Republican tax cut obsession fail? All at the expense of hard-working people fail? Or people who wish they could work hard? People that voted against their own interests because they believed that Kansas Klown? All of the above?

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Barro explains how, if he were living in Kansas, his MSNBC income would be tax-free. Lotta good that would do Kansans. Please proceed, Josh:

While no state has gone as far as Kansas, four others — Missouri, Ohio, Oregon and South Carolina — have passed laws in the last decade that give some small-business owners lower tax rates than wage earners.

By creating this preference for some types of income over others, Kansas has run into at least five problems...

And then he enumerates the problems. Please link over to read the whole post, but here's one of my favorite excerpts:

The Kansas Legislative Research Department — the state-level equivalent of the Congressional Budget Office — issued a memo this month saying that “it appears that some of the fiscal notes associated with various income tax law changes enacted in 2012 and 2013 were understated.” Translation: It looks as if we gave out a bigger tax cut than we thought.

To quote Texas Gov. Rick Perry:

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Gov Scott Walker tax plan gives an extra $50 million tax cut to... guess who? Right!

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gov. scott walker cronyopoly gameImage via.

What will Gov Scott Walker do to endear himself to voters next? So far a state appeals court rejected challenges to the WI John Doe probe targeting conservatives. Then Walker wouldn't reveal whether 86 grand that his campaign used to pay attorney fees was connected to said John Doe case. And to further convince us how disconnected to reality he is, Gov Scott Walker of Wisconsin said "he senses no gay marriage movement."

But now we see that he is actually endearing himself to some voters after all. The upper-incomiest of residents of Wisconsin owe Gov Scott Walker another big, sloppy, wet kiss.

But before we go there, as Julie Andrews sang in "The Sound of Music," let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. There's this law that Congress passed back in 1969 that called for a federal alternative minimum tax, because "155 affluent Americans had actually paid no federal income taxes." Wisconsin thought that was such a good idea that they passed their own version of the AMT back in the '80s.

Via The Cap Times:

The measure is designed to capture at least some revenue from individuals who have so many deductions or credits they otherwise would owe no income tax at all.

Why, what a splendid and fair way to level the playing field!

But Wisconsin Republicans had second thoughts. After all, they have a group crush on the wealthiest, filthy-richest residents (read: political donors) and wouldn't want to ruffle their currency-lined feathers.

And the man with the biggest heart-on of all decided to bring them flowers and bon-bons in the form of (say it with me now) tax cuts:

[T]tucked into Gov. Scott Walker’s $504 million basket of tax cuts are significant changes to the state’s alternative minimum tax that could deliver some $50 million in savings to roughly 30,000 filers by 2016 and beyond, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau memo. [...]

[T]he alternative minimum tax changes will mainly benefit the wealthiest in Wisconsin, including factory and farm owners already benefiting from another huge tax break passed specifically for them in 2011. [...]

If all three provisions are adopted, revenues would be reduced by an estimated $11.3 million in 2013-14, $25.5 million in 2014-15, $40.5 million in 2015-16 and $50.8 million in 2016-17 and thereafter, according to the LFB.

So to those who have their eye on Potential Presidential Candidate Walker, I ask that you please share this news with your fellow not-filthy-rich voters. They're sure to appreciate who he gives hand-outs to and who he doesn't. Indeed, it seems the "makers" are the real "takers," and everyone else can eat cake.

Tell a friend.tell a friend

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John Boehner wants to prolong sequestration. Oh, and his job performance numbers are in the toidy. Coincidence?

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A Public Policy Polling poll of Ohioans has GOP House Speaker John Boehner's job performance numbers at a whopping 20 percent; 59% disapprove of the job he's doing. (John Kasich's not doing too well, either. Follow the link.)

owie

Since October 2012, The Boehner's approvals have fallen 13 points, down from 33%.

Gee, could it have anything to do with the fact that he "is, in fact, bad at his job”? How bad? Well, as we speak, TPM has a post on Boehner's call for more-- wait for it-- sequestration:

...House Speaker John Boehner reiterated that his chamber would move quickly when Congress reconvenes to pass a continuing resolution that would avoid a government shutdown but prolong sequestration.

The short-term resolution would keep the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration in place.

Good grief, can he get any more tone deaf?

Take this L.A. Times headline, for example:

Defense officials tell Congress that scheduled sequester budget cuts threaten to gut the military.

Or this Times story:

The Obama administration announced Monday that about 5,600 low-income California children would be shut out of federally funded Head Start preschool programs because of Washington budget gridlock.

How's that outreach workin' for ya, GOP?

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Senators promise colleagues 50 years of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on tax reform, "making secrecy a priority"

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what's the big secret

You know, the one thing I've been wishing for is more secrecy from our elected officials, because gee, who really needs transparency anyway? Especially when it comes to tax reform and being aware of which U.S. Senator supports which policies.

Yes, by all means, the more secrecy the better. America first!

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The Hill:

The Senate's top tax writers have promised their colleagues 50 years worth of secrecy in exchange for suggestions on what deductions and credits to protect in tax reform.

Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Orrin Hatch (Utah), have assured lawmakers that any submission they receive will not be released by either the committee or the National Archives before the end of 2064.

Deeming the submissions confidential, the Senate’s top tax writers have said only certain staff members will get access to a senator’s written suggestions. Each submission will also be given its own ID number and be kept on both password-protected servers, with printed versions kept in a locked safe.

The promise of confidentiality was revealed just two days before the deadline for senators to participate in the Finance Committee’s “blank slate” process, which puts the onus on lawmakers to argue for what credits and deductions should be preserved in a streamlined tax code.

The piece goes on to say that Baucus and Hatch were "trying to prove to colleagues that they were making secrecy a priority."

A priority. Of course. Forget about allowing the rest of us in on what you're up to.

Keeping the submissions confidential for a half century, the aide added, was “standard operating procedure for sensitive materials including investigation materials.”

Okay, I get that their motivation was to get all the senators engaged, but providing fifty years of secrecy doesn't do much to instill confidence in the honesty and intentions of our Congress members. And as The Hill noted, "blowback from interest groups and businesses" is a concern.

How about ignoring the lobbyists, just this once? How about showing some spine and concern by unambiguously standing up for the welfare of all Americans? Rhetorical, and yes, I know, I know, totally unrealistic. But sometimes that pesky wishful thinking just slips out.

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