I’m not the biggest Reuven Carlyle fan. Still, I’m glad he goes after tax loopholes.
Carlyle, who’s been beating the tax breaks drum for years, went on to trash the whole exemptions process, saying it was time to apply “the same line by line rigor to both sides of the ledger” pointing out that while the legislature debates program spending every budget cycle, it looks the other way when it comes to tax breaks. “It’s a new era. We’re expecting and demanding a new level of rigor for tax breaks.”
Carlyle said that the legislature has created 277 new tax exemptions worth $3.6 billion since 1995 (he didn’t also note, though, that the Democrats have been in control for most of that time).* The grand total now, he said, is 640 tax exemptions worth “tens of billions.”
Carlyle said that some of them made sense, but concluded: “Here’s the deal: Let’s acknowledge as a state that in some cases the money from tax breaks would deliver better value, a better return on investment, by investing in kids and families, schools and universities.”
I suspect that I’d find more loopholes to close than Carlyle (or the median legislator in either house). But this is a good conversation to have.
* The GOP controlled (or had a tie) in at least one house of he legislature for much of that time. It would be interesting to see how much tax loopholes have increased or not depending on control of the legislature, but that wasn’t in the post.