POLITICS
01/24/2013 04:49 pm ET | Updated Jan 24, 2013

Plan To Soak Poor With Sales Taxes Is Catching On Everywhere

Seems like only hours ago that I was given the occasion to remember how Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's "fresh, new" idea in policymaking was to "eliminate all Louisiana personal and corporate income taxes" and place the revenue burden squarely on an already thinly stretched middle class and a working class that's growing in size while being completely shut out of what little recovery we've had. I leaned back in my chair and stretched, and when I returned to looking at my screen, what did I see? Well, wouldn't you know -- this idea is apparently catching on everywhere. In this case, "everywhere" pretty much refers to "states with Republican governors."

As The New York Times reports:

President Obama stood on the steps of the Capitol in Washington on Monday afternoon and laid out an expansive liberal agenda for the nation. Inside the Kansas State Capitol here this week, Gov. Sam Brownback and Republican legislators have been drafting what could be a blueprint for the other side.

On Wednesday, lawmakers received a bill to inch the state closer to eliminating income taxes, a centerpiece of a broad legislative vision that many in the Republican Party here hope will serve as a model of conservative governance for other states, if not the nation, to follow.

Now, you have to linger on the story for a long time to find the chaser to this shot, but if you're patient, it will suddenly appear:

But there is significant concern in Kansas over the cost of the tax cuts, which is expected to total nearly $850 million in the coming fiscal year. In the budget he presented last week, Mr. Brownback proposed to help cover the cost of those cuts by keeping in place a sales tax increase that was scheduled to expire this year and by eliminating the mortgage interest deduction. Both proposals have proven unpopular among conservatives and liberals alike.

So there's a little discontent over this plan within the members of Brownback's party, but the only person who shows up in the piece to actually point out that the math does not work is suburban Kansas City state Rep. Barbara Bollier, who "questioned why the state was cutting taxes at a time of sagging revenues," saying, “It's beyond extremely conservative because no one else is doing it.”

Well, she's right on the first part, but on the second, the truth is that everyone is doing it. As the Times reports:

Kansas' tax policy has caught the attention of its neighbors. Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska, a Republican, has introduced a bill to eliminate a variety of taxes, including ones on individual income and small businesses. Gov. Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, also a Republican, plans to call for modest income tax cuts, and Missouri lawmakers have discussed reforming their tax code.

And, of course, they are all following Jindal, which raises the question: When Jindal goes to the Republican National Committee's winter meeting to condemn his party's "vision" Thursday night, who will be left for him to condemn? Everyone is basically in lockstep here.

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