Today, on tax day, I am making two pledges. I pledge to eliminate the state income tax and to not support any new state or federal tax increases as Governor. https://t.co/sshOcTTmuq pic.twitter.com/pmwvAZ4zwy
— Leslie Rutledge (@LeslieRutledge) May 17, 2021
Two candidates for governor in the Republican primary, Leslie Rutledge and Sarah Huckabee Sanders are vowing to end the state income tax.
They join Tim Griffin and the unhinged Trent Garner, plus others, in this fantasy.
At a time DC democrats are raising taxes and paying workers to stay home, we need to begin phasing out the state income tax. When I’m governor I will lead the effort to reward work, not penalize it.
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) May 14, 2021
It’s about arithmetic.
Income taxes make up more than a third of the state’s $6 billion budget.
There are some deadwood Republican grifters whose fat state jobs could be cut with little loss to the public, I grant you, but probably not $2 billion worth. Embedded costs rise, whether health insurance, utilities, concrete, groceries, gas for patrol cars.
Sam Brownback has already proved conclusively in Kansas that trickle-down growth from tax cuts is a myth. As has the federal government, repeatedly.
So how do you pay for schools, prisons, health, public safety and polishing the 10 Commandments and slavery monuments on the Capitol grounds without an income tax?
Texas does it with high property taxes and a punishing franchise tax that resembles an income tax. Others love the sales tax — hard on poor people, not so hard on the millionaires. Easier in Florida, with its immense tourism income.
Should Sanders and Rutledge ever make themselves available for a news interview, I hope they get pressed on the specifics of this grand notion. Will we have a government if they succeed? And if we do, how will we pay for it?
I say reward work, not wealth. Give the working poor an earned income tax credit. Give everyone else a progressive income tax, with the highest bracket for those making more than $100,000 ($200,000 for a couple under Arkansas’s system). No special treatment allowed for those with inherited wealth that flows in dividends, bond interest, farm and timber payments, mineral royalties and other gravy without a drop of honest sweat required to earn it.