Macon Telegraph Editors Favor High Taxes

The liberals in charge of the Editorial Board at the Macon Telegraph have written an editorial today calling on the legislature to not enact major tax reforms. They include this line:

One major tax cut is on the horizon. Eliminating the state income tax on the retirement incomes (Social Security, pensions and the like) of heavy-voting seniors was the centerpiece of Perdue’s campaign last fall. At the cost of a $142 million hit to the state Treasury, he will likely get the legislators to keep the promise.

Don’t you love how a tax cut is somehow a cost to the government? That’s nonsense. Because the legislator, in its wisdom, has decided that taxpayers should not have to send as much to the treasury is not a “cost,” it is a benefit to the taxpayers, who will take that money and do with it as they will — a portion of which will be spent, generating sales tax revenue for their local and state government.

Of course, the problem is that Democrats and the Editorial Board like the progressive income tax system that takes from high income earners and gives to low income earners. The progressive tax system is a revenue generating social justice scheme using the big stick of government to enact social policies acceptable to liberals. A state sales tax would be much fairer.

14 comments

  1. GBPI says:

    A few tax policy basics (no matter whether you’re liberal or conservative): the sales tax is a regressive tax (i.e. unfair tax). The sales tax takes a higher share of income from lower income folks than from higher income folks. Why? Because those at the low end consume a lot more of their income than those at the high end. So the sales tax is the least fair tax in Georgia. Secondly, harping on the progressive income tax doesn’t provide the whole picture. The progressive income tax doesn’t make our tax system as a whole progressive. On the contrary, it merely balances out the regressive sales tax and moves us a little more toward proportional (but not all the way, we’ve still got a regressive tax system). Doing away with the income tax is not a gain in fairness. The only tax policy principle it achieves is simplicity, which is not synonymous with fairness.

    While doing away with the income tax as a whole is unfair between high and low incomes (vertical equity), doing away with the income tax on all retirement income is unfair across similar incomes (horizontal equity). Why should a retired couple with $100,000 in retirement income pay less in taxes than a family of four making $35,000? How is that fair?

    Alan Essig
    Executive Director
    Georgiua Budget and Policy Institute

  2. Big Mack says:

    If you are going to be the Executive Director of the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, then learn to spell Georgia.

  3. bird says:

    Big Mack–I can only imagine that the misspelling of Georgia was a typo, not a reflection of that fact that Mr. Essig does not know how to spell Georgia. However, you found your typo, so you can go ahead and disregard everything he said.

    I’m in the top tax bracket in Georgia and yet I can find no scenario where I think it would be “fairer” for me to pay the same share of taxes as a person making under $35,000 a year. I want our state to continue to run well. We have to collect revenue to do that.

    Erick, if you want the state to cut taxes, please identify which programs you are willing to cut. Anyone can be in favor of cutting taxes. I am in favor of paying out less money in general, but I’m not willing to move into a smaller house to accomplish that goal. So what do you want to cut? Highway money? Healthcare for kids? Education?

    I’m listening, and as a taxpayer in Georgia, I would love to pay less money. So, my bias is in favor of cutting a program if you can identify a good candidate!

  4. Decaturguy says:

    Erick,

    I will say the same thing to you that I said to Rep. Ehrhart last week. I would love to pay less taxes to the State of Georgia. Hell, I would love it if I didn’t have to pay any tax at all.

    But, it is not possible to eliminate the Georgia income tax while maintaning a 4% state sales tax, and generate the same amount of tax revenues. It is just not possible.

    So …. what programs do you plan to cut or what taxes do you plan to raise in order to accomplish the goal of eliminating the state income tax? Lets not try to decieve Georgians that you can have it both ways.

  5. Erick says:

    Actually, I think we should raise the sales tax to compensate. But, being an evil conservative, I also would not object to cuts in education (no serious study has ever shown a correlation between money spent and education benefit), healthcare (based on income levels), etc.

  6. Harry says:

    As mentioned, simplicity is one argument in favor of eliminating the income tax. Another aspect to consider is competitiveness. Defensively speaking, this state needs to retain a certain number of people of wealth and capability of making high salaries. I personally know several people who have relocated to Florida, Tennessee, Texas, and even Washington – states where there is no state income tax. Offensively speaking, we need to give such people some reason to locate here besides the Atlanta airport. You can call it “regressive” or “trickle down theory”, but we really do need people in the state who can build wealth and provide good executive talent, which in turn leads to job growth. Yes, it may sound crass but proximity to wealth and executive talent is really good.

  7. stephaniemills21 says:

    Harry,

    We all know people personally who have moved to one place or another, but i just read that Georgia is the 4th fastest growing state. I think something besides the airport is bringing them in.

  8. Harry says:

    Stephanie,

    Bangladesh also has lots of population growth. The issue is quality growth, quality jobs.

  9. liberty21 says:

    I do not think there needs to be a tax increase. That sounds absurd. The goal is fiscal responsibility. We need tax reform if some news editors like it or not. I have always agree with tax reformers that tax reform creates economic growth and more jobs.

  10. stephaniemills21 says:

    Harry,

    Bangladesh’s growth is do to birth rates, Georgia’s because people are moving here. Not even comparable. Also, i truly am enjoying your elitist ideas about who should move to this state. Who knew you republicans secretly disdain working people so much. So should we only allow millionaires to move to the state?

  11. VictoratGaImproper says:

    1/3/07
    Alan,

    Enjoyed your well researched comments. I would like for Erick to follow one of my Proteges’ Mother around for a month and study how the increased sales tax would help her raise five kids with her fourth grade education and $5.75 an hour job at a Macon, Georgia nursing home. (while the Dad is dying of cancer)

    One way that money could help our K through K12 education system is to increase security so that the kids that want to learn actually get a chance. Erick, let’s tour Southwest High School together sometime?

    After selling us on the Techno Society, our lawmakers gave away our high paying tech jobs to India et al. Why don’t we focus on their decisions to send jobs overseas as an impediment to growth?

    Victor Jones,
    Macon, Ga
    http://www.macon-bibb.com/GONZO

  12. IndyInjun says:

    Go ahead with conversion to a sales tax at Erick’s higher rates.

    South Carolina retailers will love the business Erick’s new Georgia Sales tax brings across the state line!

    If Illegal Mexicans are NOW doing your lawn care with no SS or income taxes being withheld, will their employer ‘get religion’ and collect and REMIT the sales tax once “tax reform” means the taxation of such services?

    How will tax ‘reform’ change fraudulent behavior?

    We had lengthy, excellent discussion of this with Earl Ehrhart earlier in the week.

  13. Mad Dog says:

    Laughing my wart off the end of my nose!

    Tax reform!

    The price of being an American too high for you, Erick?

    Tired of giving an arm and a leg?

    Cry me a river ….

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