Washington Beyond the Headlines: Stimulus conditions kneecap state tax cuts
By Andy Blom, TES Washington Editor
We desperately need Spring in Washington. You know, a moderate season. We currently are faced with the political versions of extreme climate — and we, the poor American people, are caught in the middle. How about some moderate temperatures, some flowers, gentle rain, baseball even? Just as Spring is a return to the reawakening of spirits, blossoms and hope, what about returning American politics, and government, to peace and sanity? While we wait, and hope, free market thinkers and doers are working on policy that affects you, your business and your life. The news that matters…
Feds BigFoot State Tax Cuts. Like your puny $1400 stimulus check? Well, it’s gonna cost you…especially if you live in one of the states that have been cutting taxes. It’s not bad enough that you, your children and grandchildren, will be paying off the $1.9 trillion stimulus bill for generations. Nor that there is much more in the bill for special interests than there is for the American taxpayer. The bill goes one egregious step further. It prohibits states from cutting taxes if they receive their portion of the stimulus bailout. So states that have been fiscally responsible not only have to bail out profligate states like New work, California and Illinois…they can’t cut their own taxes to benefit their citizens. See the whole ugly story here and remember to be mad the next time you vote.
Ready For Communist Level Taxation? Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), a group that care a WHOLE LOT about taxes, has very concerning news. ATR tells us that President Biden plans to raise America’s corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% —higher than Communist China’s! With the massive government spending being pushed through by the Biden Administration, new taxes are inevitable. But it’s only corporations you say? Well guess what happens to prices and costs all the way down the line to you — they go up to pay the higher taxes, unless the corporations leave America for more fertile ground. Oh, and don’t bet small business and individual tax hikes aren’t next. It’s a slippery slope of bad economic policy.
In Oklahoma, Free Speech 1, Big Tech Cancel Culture 0. Paycom, a $22 Billion Tech Company, sued the non-profit Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs to silence and punish them for reporting on the Paycom CEO’s attempt to direct the Oklahoma Governor to institute draconian lockdowns in response to the Covid crisis. PayCom lost, big time, in an important victory for free speech. Enjoy the details and score one for the little guys.
Will The Polls Ever Be Right Again? Maybe Not. Once again, in the 2020 elections, Republican candidates, including President Trump, outperformed the polls. And this was after we had been assured the mistakes of the horrendous polling errors of 2016 had been fixed. Is this a permanent problem? Emily Ekins, a Research Fellow at the Cato Institute, looks at what went wrong (again), why, and what it means for the future here.
Stopping Arizona’s Billion Dollar Tax Hike…Goldwater To The Rescue. Maybe. It’s the largest tax hike in Arizona history. And it’s unconstitutional, according to the Goldwater Institute, one of the nation’s most important state think tanks. That’s why Goldwater, on behalf of Arizona citizens and small businesses, has taken taken the issue all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court. Will they win? Take a look at the case documents and you can be informed and involved.
You Have To Read The Bill To Know What’s In It. And What You Are Paying For. I know we sound like a broken record but every time the Government spends money, it’s your tax money they are spending. Which brings us to the massive $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan”. Like they say when you adopt a shelter pet, “Who’s rescuing who?” The Mackinac Center wants us to have just some idea of where your money is going and suggests you look at some of the provisions forced into the bill. Mackinac points out, “State/local bailout funds start on p. 569. Prohibition on tax cuts and pension debt payoffs begins on p. 579. Enforcement mechanism begins on p. 580”. And that’s just one portion. For real fun, read the whole thing. Your Senator probably didn’t.
Devil In The Details, Tax Department. Taxes can be blindingly complicated and confusing, but the details affect us all. Pete Sepp, President, National Taxpayers Union, Alexander Hendrie, Director of Tax Policy, Americans for Tax Reform and Ryan Ellis, President, Center for a Free Economy have our best interests at heart and have taken specific issues with tax policy and the IRS to new minted Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen. They offer sound advice to the Biden Administration on conservation easements and other topics in a letter to the Secretary.
Antitrust And Patent Law…a New Madison Approach? James Madison may be long gone but his contributions remain very much with us. Madison had a particular interest in patent law and the Mercatus Center brings an interesting Madisonian look at it in the new world of antitrust. Worth pondering.
The Free Market Takes On Climate Change. If you think all conservatives are ‘Climate Deniers’, think again. The Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions believes it is important to address climate issues and the best way to do that is to get the government(s) out and let market innovation in. Even if you believe Climate has a mind of its own that man won’t solve, they present thoughtful and interesting suggestions at https://c3solutions.org.
A Bill We Love — Finalizing Deregulations. To contend with Covid, and some government abuses, the Trump Administration cut through a lot of regulatory red tape. Now, Representative Barry Loudermilk (R – GA) wants to make those deregulatory actions permanent by introducing the Thrive Act (H.R. 8788). A government that wants to get out of the way and let America thrive is a great idea and if you ever wanted to start reading actual bills, this is a good one to get acquainted with.
Wow! Bipartisanship For A Good Cause! Who’d a thunk it? Even in hotly partisan DC it seems some of our legislators can get together to do good. Eight U.S. Senators (4 D’s and 4 R’s led by James Lankford (R – OK) and Chris Coons (D – DE)) have introduced the bipartisan Universal Giving Pandemic Response and Recovery Act to expand and extend the current deduction for charitable giving. It helps charities in need in the time of the ‘Rona and helps taxpayers, too — even if you don’t itemize deductions. A win/win and a tip of the hat to all the sponsors. Read all about it. Even the House of Representatives has gone bipartisan on this one.
Feds Bash State Tax Cuts, Some States Bash State Taxpayers. The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has everyone excited by sending out $1400 stimulus checks. Well, there is a lot more in the ARPA that deserves scrutiny. Patrick Gleason of Americans for Tax Reform, gives the background on how the ARPA works to prevent states from cutting their state taxes (possibly unconstitutional Federal overreach) and the guy (West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin) behind this poison pill. Well, poison pill for states that want to give their taxpayers a break (like West Virginia, Florida, Mississippi) but no problem for states that want to raise individual state taxes (looking at you greedy Hawaii and New York).
Forgot About Europe? Catch Up Here. These past few months have been pretty intense here in the good old USA, what with the Pandemic, Election, Mostly Peaceful Protests, and a new Administration. But there are things going on in the rest of the world. If you want to catch up on what’s happening in the EU, take a look at the Brussels Report (https://www.brusselsreport.eu). Now you’re smarter than all your friends. Well, at least more informed.
$1400 Stimulus Checks For The Masses, Health Care Subsidies For The Rich. It could be months, maybe even years before we find out all the things buried in the gigantic $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act but here’s a tidbit for those who believe the Democrat cries about ‘income inequality’: the ARPA contains large healthcare subsidies for the wealthy. Brian Blase of the Galen Institute gives the sordid facts and figures here and provides even more details here. In short, large payoffs to the rich, higher healthcare costs, less employer coverage, a backdoor to Government run healthcare and a whole bunch more. Good to know Congress is looking out for somebody.
And Here’s A Look At ARPA From The State Legislative Level…We’ll give Jonathan Williams of ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council) the final word on how the $1.9 trillion stimulus will affect state budgets.
Free To Prosper — Now There’s A Good Idea. Following America’s difficult, confusing and contentious year, CEI, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, has taken a clear-eyed look at problems and solutions and offered Congress a pro-growth agenda that could put the country back on its feet and moving forward. Taking on nine policy areas, CEI suggests specific reforms for growth. Can you see the light at the end of tunnel?
Raising The Dead — The ERA Amendment. Sometimes a bad idea should be left to die a quiet death. So it is with the Equal Rights Amendment, a poorly written and vague Constitutional Amendment drafted in 1972 that required states to ratify to it by 1979. While some of the intent was good, as written the ERA was, at best, problematic, and it did not receive enough state ratifications to be adopted. Now, some state legislators and activists are reigniting the fight and claiming the ERA is still alive. Rob Natelson, the Independence Institute’s Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, gives us the history, what’s happening now and why it’s a problem at https://i2i.org/author/rob/.
One Last Word On Taxes: No! Americans for Tax Reform (again) is speaking out on taxes, this time in leading a Coalition Letter to Congress opposing any carbon tax. And quite a coalition it is, too. Over 60 influential conservative and free market organizations and individuals have signed, recognizing the serious problems for all Americans of a carbon tax. It’s a concise and powerful argument. Let’s hope Congress listens.
Andresen Blom is a Washington based policy and political analyst and author who has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Hill, and Politico.