Matt Boch,  a Dover Dixon Horne lawyer who writes on tax issues, has posted a comprehensive rundown of actions taken yesterday by the legislature’s tax reform task force.

You’ll find some nitty gritty not found in most mainstream coverage (an expansion of a sales tax break for car washes, for example, and a point-by-point on sin tax ideas, which seem to have been beaten back in several cases by their lobbyists) along with a thorough rundown of the big-ticket items — income tax cuts and capturing a coming windfall in Internet sales taxes to pay for tax cuts rather than applying the money  to state services.

Boch notes this isn’t a final report. And even with a final report, nothing will prevent legislators from offering different ideas in the 2019 session. (The earned income tax credit for working poor, rejejcted by the task force, remains a long shot in a Republican-controlled legislature in which concern for the poor is in short supply.) Boch notes the baseline issue in this discussion:


The final report will have vastly more revenue reducing cuts or reforms than offsetting revenue raisers.

Another amen from this corner. Serious tax talk should begin with serious consideration of state needs — public schools, colleges, prisons, highways, State Police, health care. Then we should review the best way to pay for those needs. If we deem the income tax rate too high and a development disincentive (there’s little proof of that) fine. Cut taxes. But make up the loss by takeaways of corporate handouts not by beggaring services. States with poor schools and infrastructure and low value for its human capital are not prime targets for progressive corporations.

PS: Boch also wrote at length about the “dynamic modeling” that attempted to put a value on tax cuts as a development tool. Not much, according to some of the testimony.