A Nerd Girl's Perspective

My Thoughts on News, Politics, Food, Crafting, Geek Culture, Sociology, and Much More —— Courtney C Horne

Tag: taxes

Jindal’s Tax Swap is Dead- Bad Tax Policy Lives On

On April 8th, before a joint session of the state legislature, Jindal acknowledged the death of his plan to eliminate state income and corporate taxes and replace them with higher state sales taxes which taxes a broad range of services not currently subject to sales tax. He said that he wasn’t taking his ball and going home, which to be honest, sounds exactly like what someone who was about to pout like mad would say.

However, the bad tax policy in Louisiana didn’t die alongside Jindal’s tax plan (and presidential ambitions). Rather the bad policy persists through a number of bills to eliminate the state income tax with absolutely no revenue replacement. At least Jindal’s horrible plan pretended to be revenue neutral. The various bills that Jindal spoke with favorability about during his speech haven’t even put forth the effort to look like they won’t drastically cut state revenue.

What happens if one of these bills passes? Our already incredibly under-funded state becomes even more so. As a state, we are already facing cuts to education and drastic closures of state hospitals. The sorts of cuts we could face with that sort of revenue loss would make our state sink to the bottom of a multitude of lists of states on quality of life, health care, education, public services, services for the elderly and poor, roads, etc.

A friend pointed out that a bill like this passing could easily mean the death of the TOPS program (which provides scholarships to public universities in Louisiana to encourage our high school students both to go to college and to stay in state to do it- and which has benefited the states higher education rates) due to lack of funding.

I shudder to think of what other vitally important programs could face their end because of this bad tax policy and drastic revenue loss.

Jindal’s Tax Plan- A way to kill retail stores and jobs

Jindal wants to get rid of income and corporate taxes in Louisiana and make up the difference with an increased sales tax- not a hefty property tax which is what Texas replaces their income taxes with. (and likely more cuts to things like battered women’s shelters and hospice care, both have faced drastic cuts under his administration already)

This is clearly a regressive-reverse robin hood plan. It would severely increase the portion of their income the poor and middle class pay in state taxes while severely decreasing the portion of their income the wealthy pay. Essentially it is taking from the poor and middle class to offer huge tax cuts to the wealthy.

But that isn’t all!

This plan a. won’t raise enough revenue to make up the difference and b. will drastically hurt all local retail businesses because of one simple thing… amazon. The poorest people in Louisiana (who will be most harmed by this plan) won’t be able to use the web giant as easily to get around the tax increase. They are less likely to have stable internet access and the $79 a year to buy prime and make amazon almost as convenient as a store would be a whole lot to them. The middle class on the other hand…

Tons of families in Louisiana are likely to turn to Amazon for their non perishable shopping needs, even nonperishable food is sold through the site now. I don’t think that people will be thinking of it as a plan to cheat the system, to evade taxation. Rather I suspect that families who exist pay check to pay check in our very poor state will simply see it as the way they can get by. The way they can make ends meet.

After all, the working poor and lower middle class in the state pay little to no state income tax. They will not be keeping more income to substitute for the extra cost at the register which will pay for the rich to be able to have the extra income to buy a boat or another car…

As a result of the likely great web migration of purchasing, retail stores will suffer. Some may close. People will lose jobs. Less tax revenue will come in and more cuts will happen to our already underfunded education and health care system. The pathetic state infrastructure will make many companies think twice before they locate in a state with terrible education and rapidly decaying roads. Essentially a very small class of wealthy will benefit while the state suffers.

The plan is regressive, bad for the poor, and quite frankly bad for the state all together.

And sadly it has fooled a ton of middle class people who just hear no income tax and stop listening before the part where they will pay hefty sales taxes to replace the revenue once got from the income tax on the well off.

People Find Marginal Tax Rates Perplexing

I was talking to a guy at a protest outside a $50k a plate Mitt fundraiser and he asked what I thought about France’s new wealth tax. He called it a 75% tax on people earning over a million a year. I explained that they only pay 75% on the income they make over the million.

This is the most recent time I have encountered confusion around marginal tax rates but it certainly is far from the first.

I decided to write a highly simplified explanation of how a marginal tax rate works so when you want to explain it to people you have an easy example for them to follow.

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