The Vermont House is ready to raise a slew of taxes impacting everyone from homeowners to hospitals.
via Vt. House ready to raise a slew of taxes – WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-.
You might think that this would lead to a critical piece on taxes and how the taxes might have an impact on the residents of Vermont and the economy. You would be wrong. Instead, capture the near-breathless manner intoned to share this bit of good news (the very next line):
The entire revenue package raises more than $28 million in new taxes.
Wow! Isn’t that great! New taxes will raise more than $28 million! Gee, that’s swell! (Sorry to all you saps who will have to pick up the tab for that $28 million.)
Here is the big problem I have with that first paragraph: it assumes that all spending patterns/behaviors will remain the same once the taxes take effect. It’s a bad assumption and poor reporting.
If you tax Product A (i.e. raise its price), then it will probably lead to some change in purchasing habits of those who bought Product A at a formerly less expensive price. They may buy less of Product A, they may switch to a competitively priced version of Product A (found in a different market?), or they may stop purchasing Product A altogether.
If I had the time to follow this up when all was said and done, then I suspect I would find that the revenues that they hope to raise from these increased taxes will not reach their proposed $28 million mark.
Well, at least governor Schumlin comes out against a certain tax; the cigarette tax:
“It seems to me illogical that we would ask a factory worked making 9,10,11 dollars an hour to pay 27 cents more for a pack of cigarettes and then tell the dentists who refuse to see Medicaid and Medicare patients that they are off the hook,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.
Can you say class warfare?
Or perhaps you smell an acrid, nicotine-flavored smoke coming from the back rooms of Shumlin’s office. (I am merely making a conjecture that his opposition to the cigarette tax could be motivated by a less pure motive like protecting a financial supporter. I don’t know if he has any ties to any tobacco companies. Wouldn’t it be interesting if he did…) The one tax where the health nuts in office actually want and expect to change purchasing behavior and the governor comes out against it. Huh?
Here’s the best part (in my humble opinion)…
Meanwhile, back on the House floor a small group of Progressives and Democrats tried to raise the income tax. The group wanted an income surcharge on the state’s highest earners.
“There are times when a legislative body has to step up and step up to the plate and become the social conscience of the people who are going without many necessities,” said Rep. Paul Poirier, I-Barre City.
But the House leadership and the governor strongly opposed the measure– 23 members supported the surcharge, 117 voted no– a strong victory for the governor and House Speaker Shap Smith, as a tax package makes its way through the Legislature. But many on the House floor believe they’ll be debating taxes again.
They (Shumlin & Smith) want to raise taxes all over the board in an attempt to raise $28 million and because they vote down a proposed income tax surcharge on the state’s “highest earners” we’re supposed to see that as a victory? Way to go boys. Thanks for sticking up for the taxpayers!