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?

ding ding ding

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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Report: Majority of WI GOP-backed income tax cuts would go to those making over $100K

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walker world

Day after day, post after post, it becomes more and more obvious that Republican have no intention of "reinventing" themselves, only their superficial, fake "image." The party may think nobody's noticing what's behind the curtain, but apparently young voters (among others) are. They see the GOP as “closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned,” and not “open-minded, caring, or co-operative.”

Here's something else they are: Perpetually devoted to the wealthiest people and corporations at the expense of regular working people. Wisconsin Republicans have made that perfectly clear.

Via The Journal Times:

A Republican lawmaker’s proposal to expand income tax cuts beyond those initially proposed by Gov. Scott Walker would mostly benefit taxpayers making more than $100,000, a nonpartisan analysis released Monday found.

The average tax cut for 2015 under the proposal would be nearly $300, compared to the $83 average for an average taxpayer under Walker’s plan, according to the analysis. [...]

The report came as Republicans who control the Legislature wrangled over major budget items in closed door meetings, negotiating last-minute deals on cutting income taxes, expanding private voucher school programs, funding public schools and rejecting a federally funded Medicaid expansion.

So what else is new, right?

Please proceed.

same old

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What I will not write about today

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This may become a regular feature.

Sometimes I get so frustrated and/or disheartened and/or annoyed by some of the news stories of the day that I can’t bring myself to write about them. Here are a few recent reports that made my blood pressure hit the roof. I am avoiding delving into them at length out of concern for my physical and mental health:

See what I mean? So who’s up for a couple of Margs or a trough of wine?

drunk happy

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"People have figured out what Republicans want: Cut taxes for the rich and if the country goes to the dogs, it is Obama's fault."

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blame obama

Today's L.A. Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re “Obama's dangerous experiment,” Opinion, Feb. 28

Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Santa Clarita), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, fails to mention that he himself voted for the “sequester” in 2011.

Two conclusions can be made: that he agreed with these cuts at the time, or that he negotiated in bad faith, planning to undo the cuts that he didn't like at a later date.

McKeon infers from President Obama's behavior that the administration wishes to “hollow out” the U.S. military.

I infer from McKeon's behavior that he wishes to protect a small number of defense contractors (that donated large sums to his campaign) at the expense of the large number of average citizens in his district who benefit from social programs.

Richard Olmstead
Van Nuys

***

McKeon mentions the president's proposals to avert sequestration, then goes on to blame Obama for all the ills that sequestration will visit on the military. Huh?

He also whines about previous cuts to the military budget, despite the fact that one GOP-initiated war has been wound down and the second is in the process of being ended.

The Republicans can't have it both ways — either focus on the budget cuts and suck up the pain, or work with the president to find alternatives.

Enough with the hypocrisy.

Brent Vanderwood
Mission Viejo

 ***

Dear Congressman: You may be absolutely right about what may happen to the military and to civilian jobs because of the sequester. You may also be absolutely right that it really was a “dangerous experiment.”

But I did not think that Republicans would care so much for cutting budgets that they would rather destroy the country.

People have figured out what Republicans want: Cut taxes for the rich and, in that fight, if the country goes to the dogs, it is Obama's fault.

I am a small-business owner. Can you tell me what you have really done for us? If more people had money, I would have more customers. I do not make money when only the rich can afford my products and there are not enough people in the middle who can.

Sam Mookerjee
Canoga Park

***

If one were to look at the yea and nay votes in the House on the sequestration bill, one would see that McKeon voted in favor.

If civics were still taught in our schools, we'd see that the president can create no laws; that is the job of Congress — the Senate and the House of Representatives.

So now my elected representative is blaming the president for the sequestration problem? Doesn't sound to me like the party of “personal responsibility” is capable of taking any.

Doug Kimball
Lancaster

***

The sequester is wrong, but McKeon's solution is absurd.

The Republican bill passed in the last session would cut deeply into programs for the poorest in our country to maintain a level of military spending that dwarfs the rest of the world's.

Now, while we are in a recovery period from the recession, is not the time to be cutting spending. We should have a short-term stimulus package coupled with a long-term tax reform and spending package.

We do need to do something to control the cost of Medicare in the long term; the healthcare law is starting to address this issue.

Michael Ubell
Oakland

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