05/16/2005: A tax revolt I can approve of....
Namely, a progressive tax revolt:
Something very important is brewing just beneath the radar of most media attention–something which looks very much like the first stages of a progressive tax revolt. Moreover, it is about to converge with a broad range of developing strategies which suggest the possibility of something even more interesting: a progressive “ownership society.” Taken together the two directions could offer new hope for progressive politics in generalBut, as Professor Alperovitz points out in his note, there's the potential here for something much more substantial than merely "soaking the rich". Give it a read.
Consider the following little noticed facts:
Last November California voters approved tax increases for people making more than $1 million--and earmarked the proceeds for mental health programs. New Jersey has enacted legislation taxing those making more than $500,000–and uses the money to offset regressive property taxes.
In Connecticut–which is currently considering a new tax on incomes over a million–a recent poll found 77% of voters in favor of the tax (including 63% of Republican voters!)
The conservative Virginia State Senate has also approved legislation to raise income taxes on those making more than $150,000. And in Indiana, Mitch Daniels, once President Bush’s extremely conservative White House Budget director (“the blade”) and now governor of the state, proposed a special tax increase on residents making more than $100,000 a year
Even as Washington has been cutting taxes for the rich, these initiatives aim to raise them at the state level. The progressive tax revolt is the logical result of three fundamental realities:
First, the draconian Bush tax cuts have led to equally draconian federal spending cuts. Second, the pain these are causing is being felt at the state and local level as mounting educational, Medicaid, transportation, environmental and other problems. Third, at the state level there is politically often simply no other place to turn for revenues but to those at the top.
Len on 05.16.05 @ 06:44 PM CST