In my last posting I put the lie to the claim that the rich pay more than their share of taxes. Let me now put the lie to the claim that Republicans are tax cutters. They are tax shifters.

If you were to name the least favorite tax to Republicans like it would be hands down, the progressive income tax. Recall what it was called in the last posting – “legal plunder.”  So, how do they want to pay for the public goods and services we all need? Well, they want to shift the system from the more progressive taxes , which emphasize ability to pay as a factor in setting rates, to ones which ignore ability to pay and emphasize “flat , one size fits all equality”. Consumption/sales taxes are one example. Such taxes have the impact of shifting tax burdens from those who are benefiting to most AND can afford to pay their share to those who are less able to do so. In other words, the game is shift the tax burden

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By lightseeker2

For the Republican heavy thinkers, tax shifting is a moral issue. Those who have largely deserve what they have.  Let Lakoff explain:

George Lakoff tells how conservatives use language to dominate politics…

…to the right wing, the good citizens are the disciplined ones – those who have already become wealthy or at least self-reliant – and those who are on the way…. Wealth is a measure of discipline. Taxes beyond the minimum needed for such government take away from the good, disciplined people rewards that they have earned and spend it on those who have not earned it.

Got that? ” I got mine, too bad about you… Of course this seems to mean that Paris Hilton and George Bush are more worthy than the most of us because they have money

This rather stark philosophy plays itself out in Texas in the heavy use of sales (consumption) taxes.  

Here is the mix of revenues we use:

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Now, guess who pays these taxes?

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For the last decade or or so the standard re-election line form our Republican establishment is , I will cut your taxes. What they meant , of course , was your property taxes. For example, The Holy Grail, for Dwayne Bohac, a typical Rove clone Republican, last session was a Property Assessment Cap.

Dwayne Bohac, the Houston Republican who is carrying a bill that would allow voters to decide in a constitutional election whether to cap appraisal increases on all property at 5 percent per year. The current cap, which applies only to residences, is 10 percent…

The bill has opened new fissures among Republican lawmakers. Rep. Fred Hill, a Richardson Republican generally considered a conservative’s conservative, calls it “the worst public policy that I have ever seen the Legislature deal with in the 16 years I’ve been here”…

Texas cities and counties, and even the Texas Association of Business, have come out hard against the proposal.

Why would a fellow Republican rail against Bohac’s proposal? Well, he knows what is going on. See, here’s the problem:

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By lightseeker2

Can you say, tax shifting? Of course you can! So the Governor Goodhair and the Boyz can , with a straight face claim to be cutting your taxes, when all they are doing is shifting them downward to the local level!

Need more proof?

The Texas Revenue Premier 2005

…Looking at it another way: Texas has a very low state tax bill, ranking 49th [ now 50th] in state taxes per resident in 2003. But Texas has a very high local tax bill because the state “pushes down” to local governments a larger share of education costs. Texas ranks 13th in local taxes per resident in 2002.

What has been happening over the last two legislative cycles is that this bogus method of paying for vital public goods and services is running up against reality, and reality can’t be fudged much longer:

The Property Tax Cap Craze Collides with Reality in Texas – The Tax Justice Digest
“The Property Tax Cap Craze Collides with Reality in Texas
November 17, 2006 4:20 PM | Permalink
Texas State Republican Chairman Tom Pauken recently embarked on a tour of the state to spread the good news: Governor Rick Perry is going to save voters from high property taxes by lowering the state’s property tax cap from ten percent to five percent a year. Governor Perry and Chairman Pauken are putting quite a bit of effort into promoting the proposed lower tax cap, but not everyone is convinced. The House Committee on Local Government Ways & Means conducted a survey on the effects of lowering the cap, only to find that “Appraisal caps unfairly shift the property tax burden from the wealthiest of property owners to the less wealthy.”

Worse still, lowering the cap would leave less money available for both local and state governments. The effect would be particularly severe in small towns that do not generate much sales tax revenue, and must rely on property taxes to fund local services. The Metropolitan Organization has come up with a better solution: a property tax “circuit breaker”. Circuit breakers, which help protect the most vulnerable from high property tax bills without gutting state coffers, are already in place in thirty-five states. Texans should urge Governor Perry to adopt this solution.”

The problem for Democrats, for all Progressives is getting the message out, helping people understand what we all know. These Republicans can’t cut taxes right, they flat can’t govern. The mess that George has made at the national level is echoed by his proteges at the state level.

This is an issue we can win, if we can explain it!

Poll Examines Public Attitudes about Local Government Taxes, Services

* ” Would you favor or oppose reducing the annual homeowner property tax appraisal cap from 10% to 5% if you knew it would likely result in funding cuts for public education and other local government services?”

      39%- Favor
      49%- Oppose
      12%- Undecided

    * ” Would you favor or oppose reducing the annual homeowner property tax appraisal cap from 10% to 5% if you knew it would mostly benefit owners of expensive homes while increasing taxes on others such as renters, small business owners and farmers and ranchers?”

      21%- Favor
      69%- Oppose
      10%- Undecided

    * ” Would you favor or oppose reducing the annual homeowner property tax appraisal cap from 10% to 5%if you knew it would result in homes with the same market value being taxed at different rates?”

      22%- Favor
      63%- Oppose
      15%- Undecided

So, now you know why Texas Republican tax cuts are really tax shifts that aid some at the expense of most of us. Oh, and its not just in Texas…

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By lightseeker2

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