Taxes: Cutting Too Much

by Judy Ferro

You know if you cut down calories and exercise a little bit, you can lose weight.   But you should also know that if you cut calories and exercise a whole lot, you can mess your whole system up.

For 30 years Republicans have said that the best way—maybe the only way—for the government to create jobs and prosperity is to cut taxes. At first, Republicans—including both Reagan and Bush the First—sought to find the proper balance by following major tax cuts with needed tax increases.

But in the years since cutting taxes has become more than a means to a healthy economy, but a goal in itself. Vote for me. I’ll cut taxes. My opponent says he’ll but taxes? Well, I’ll cut more.

When Republican leaders find the economy sluggish and government faltering after one tax cut, they seek to fix things with another tax cut.

Late in 2012 Republicans in Kansas—home of the Koch brothers—cut taxes 25% for most of the state’s citizens.   Nothing halfway for Kansas. So schools and state pensions are underfunded. We obviously need the biggest, baddest tax cut ever.

Forbes magazine praised Kansas Republicans for their boldness and predicted massive job growth.   As recently as March 10, Governor Brownback was on FOX news telling the nation about the wonders taking place in Kansas

Then the May 1 report from the Kansas Department of Revenue revealed that tax income was down 45% from a year earlier. The state is on track to collect $1.3 billion less this fiscal year. That’s right—tax revenue down a whole lot more than the 25% cut. The economy is slowing.

Moody’s cut Kansas’s credit rating. Governor Brownback went on FOX news to explain that it was Obama’s fault. Then the legislature got to work—debating another tax cut. After all, it’s an election year.

And neighboring Missouri, faced with the prospect of all their businesses racing to take advantage of lower taxes in Kansas, passed their own tax cut over Governor Nixon’s veto. Republicans there will go into the campaign season claiming their cut—moderate compared to Kansas–will only lower revenues $420 million a year.

If it didn’t mean kids packed like sardines into classrooms, drivers facing hazardous road conditions, and the mentally and physically disabled citizens being dumped in the streets, it’d be a laugh. Abbott and Costello go to Kansas.

A recent Idaho poll indicated that voters believe Republicans are better at managing the economy.

That really hurts.

Idaho has a median income just half of what’s considered a living wage. It has more people using payday loans even though interest rates here can be up to 400%. It has the second highest number of people working for minimum wage, and 75% of our citizens qualify for subsidized health care.

Idaho has one of the lowest tax rates in the nation.

A new report out this week indicates that there is no correlation between average wages and tax rates. But researchers found a direct correlation between the percent of a state’s workers with college degrees and average wages.

Idaho has been shorting higher education for years and only four states made higher cuts after 2008.

What a surprise. Higher education and higher wages go hand-in-hand. The economy must be a liberal.

If we want more good-wage jobs, we should postpone cutting taxes and take care of our schools.


Published by Judy Ferro

Judy Ferro is communication director for the 2C Dems and a columnist for the Idaho Press.

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