Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Tax relief in '06

It looks like the guys from Muscatine are flexing a little muscle on the tax issue. An update from Iowans for Tax Relief as reported on Radio Iowa.

Muscatine-based "Iowans for Tax Relief" spent over two-and-a-half million dollars in its last budgeting year, about half of that coming from member contributions. …
… Iowans for Tax Relief has 15 full-time employees. …. the organization has "reserve" funds that generated enough income to cover half of the group's two-point-six million-dollar budget. The group's political action committee, Taxpayers United, raised just over three-hundred thousand dollars in 2003 and 2004 to make campaign contributions to legislative candidates. That was a record for the group, too. …
… As of this past Saturday, Iowans for Tax Relief had just over 51-thousand members, and … no other state or national taxpayer rights organization comes close to the size of Iowans for Tax Relief on a per capita basis. In the last three years, Iowans for Tax Relief has signed up over six-thousand new members.

Translation: we have money; we have staff; we have big chunks of PAC money to give you…or not; we have willing tools ready to write and call you on our issues; oh and, we’re the biggest deal around. Yeah, sure, hear this sort of talk a lot…‘round midnight from the guy on the last bar stool.

However, it does make for some interesting politics. If you couple the Iowans for Tax Relief comments with last week’s forum, where the GOP gubernatorial candidates put out their pro-taxpayer agenda…

Jim “blah, blah, blah” Nussle

I unveiled the first five points of my tax reform agenda, which include supporting the People’s Right to Vote Amendment, eliminating the state tax on social security and pensions, ending the property tax shift among classes of property, and establishing a Blue Ribbon Commission …I hope these BRC guys will buy us time so we can get these tax guys & the to-the-trough big business types on the same page…to help overhaul our tax system. (Almost all of it from Jim’s Journal, October 11, 2005)

Bob “flat tax it, baby” Vander Plaats

If we simplify this income tax system in much of the same way of a flat tax:…Yeah, this is great, people are watching, they’re gettin' it… if you make a hundred bucks, you pay five; if you make a thousand, you pay fifty; if you make a hundred thousand, you pay five thousand. But we’d get rid of many of the exemptions and deductions that have only complicated that income tax system. When you flatten it out, we will be able to generate more revenue. (Almost all of it from Iowa Press, transcript Show 3303)
…you get the idea that these events and comments are about framing out a central issue in the Republicans' 2006 game plan.

The Republicans intend to make taxes a user-friendly wedge issue for 06. And this “we're big & we're bad” political trash talking from the guys in Muscatine is all about bringing momentum to the tax issue, and, subsequently, gaming the Democrats into talking about taxes while helping the GOP with a platform to show off their stylin’ tax policies.

You never know. A good chunk of Iowans could wake up one day next year, think about all the good government that Vilsack has been force-feeding us for 7 years, 9 months, and have an epiphany...

"OMG, everyone I know that makes more money than I do, works for the government. If I stay in Iowa and they stay employed by the state of Iowa, I'll be paying taxes through the nose to support their jobs."
Hey, it could happen.

Back to the standard fare, I'll post ennui filled laments on another day.


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