Goddard on the P-I: quick on the draw, wrong on the facts

Right-wing bloggers like to imagine themselves as watchdogs on the MSM. But who’s watchdogging the watchdogs? Oh well, I guess today, it’s my turn again. And the dog of the day is recently-knighted (un)Sound Politics contributor, Timothy Goddard.

Writing on his own blog (“PI on taxes: Slow on the uptake, wrong on the facts“), Timothy is so eager to cleverly debunk a Seattle P-I article as thinly disguised “propaganda”, that he makes himself look downright silly.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer is bringing new meaning to the term “Post.” “Post,” as in “after,” as in “already happened,” as in “old news.” To set up the Democrats’ no-doubt forthcoming attempt to impose an income tax on the state, replacing the sales tax, the paper is reporting a nine year old study as breaking news.

The propaganda thinly disguised as an article entitled “Sales tax hits state’s poor where it hurts

Comments

  1. 1

    spews:

    Well, if the NY Times says it’s completely reliable, obviously it’s true.

    My criticism of the PI article still stands. Instead of being 10 years old, it’s three years old, great–it’s still hardly breaking news, and it’s still timed to give the Democrats cover to mess with the tax code. And the poor rounding done in the article makes the 1st and 2nd editions indistinguishable, which is why I screwed up and found the wrong study. There is interesting news to be found in the study, but roughly citing the highest and the lowest numbers in it is even lazier than my neglecting to notice that there was a second edition. I’ll have more on it tonight when I have an opportunity.

  2. 2

    spews:

    The blurring lines between who is a legitimate reporter and who isn’t is going to be fascinating to watch. The Goddard, Gannon and Guckerts of the world will make it very hard for the general public to trust in the new media, while people in the old media aren’t helping themselves much these days either.

    I suspect the old media will try to shore up their trust while maybe discrediting the bloggers, while the bloggers will continue to use their numbers and intensity to an extent that can’t be ignored.

    Personally, I think bloggers are best at being watchdogs and columnists and not at being journalists, and that might be the best balance between the two going forward.

  3. 3

    Goldy spews:

    Timothy, first I apologize if my tone went over the top, as at least one person has privately suggested. I appreciate the fact that you and I have a civil discourse.

    But you lambasted the P-I for using a 9-year-old study. You called it shameful and partisan and propagandistic. And you hadn’t even read the study to which they were referring.

    Yes… it’s two year old data now… if anything, our tax structure has gotten even MORE regressive the past two years. But I challenge you to find a more current, comparitive study of this sort. And if you disagree with the conclusion, then I urge you to go to the Gates Commission Report, which uses 2000 data, but comes to a similar conclusion… we have an extremely regressive tax structure.

    Think about it logically…. how could we not?

  4. 4

    Mark spews:

    Daniel,

    I think bloggers are best at being watchdogs and columnists and not at being journalists…

    This is scary. I think I actually agree with you. (gimme a sec to shake of the willies)

    The only counter-example that comes to mind is the incredible job that USSMariner.com does in covering the Seattle Mariners baseball team. However, these guys are also published experts in the field and the PI hired one of them to write an M’s column.

    I think it is very valuable to have Shark & Goldy & Goddard and others asking the questions and providing the leads & links for us to check out on our own.

  5. 5

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 3

    I agree that we have an extremely regressive tax structure.

    The problem is that politicians of every stripe have given us NO reason to trust that they won’t screw us somehow. There would have to be a wholesale shift in state, county and local taxation for me to have any faith that it wouldn’t be some sort of bait-and-switch.

    Take a look at the legislation that comes out of Olympia or DC. How often have you looked at something and realized that the true intent of the bill is not what is stated in the title?

  6. 6

    Jeff B. spews:

    Who’s watchdogging the watchdogging watchdogs? Or debunking the debunkers?

    I’m not going to take a stand either way on Timothy’s argument in this case, but he’s definitely done a better job of reporting on average than most MSM media reporters. And he’s far more objective than most MSM sources on the whole as well.

    Timothy may have made a mistake on this one, I’m not sure either way, but if he did, I’m sure he will admit the mistake. MSM reporters, such as the Times reporter who did not correct the 99.98 vs. 99.8 Sims number are often not so open with their errors.

  7. 7

    JCH spews:

    Well, WASH could just raise taxes on the rich until the rich just move out of state. You know…..kind of like “Atlas Shrugged”. Then the Democrat welfare hacks, Democrat union thugs, and Democrat “guvment” workers would have to tax each other. [Now that would be fun to see. Parasite vs parasites] J. Craig, Pahoa, HI

  8. 8

    spews:

    Mark @ 4

    This is scary. I think I actually agree with you. (gimme a sec to shake of the willies)

    You know, the characterizations of some of us that have been thrown around by some other of us (some whom never seem to venture over here), are really not warranted. We’re, for the most part, pretty reasonable people.

    I actually feel a lot better when I can say I agree with something said by someone who generally holds a differing view than I do, than when I have to argue that I don’t. The fact is we so easily accentuate the small percentage of disagreements we have with vitriol and hyperbole, that it obfuscates the larger amount of common ground we never allow to see the light of day.

    That’s my touchy feely comment of the day – and I feel good about having the opportunity to say it to someone who often disagrees with me.

    Thanks.

  9. 9

    Don spews:

    State economic data are a year or two old by the time the public gets it, so 2003 is current. The Gates report is slightly older but the revenue structure hasn’t changed, so their conclusions are just as valid today as when the report was published. Roughly speaking, about half of state revenue comes from taxes, a quarter from the federal government, approximately 4% from bond proceeds and 3% from licenses, permits, and fees, and the other 18% from such sources as liquor and lottery profits, timber sales from state land, and investment income earned by state funds. About three-fourths of the state’s roughly $26 billion annual expenditures are spent on two items, education and social services. The big ticket item in social services is Medicaid, and the biggest piece of Medicaid money goes to nursing homes. There really are not many places in state government where you can cut spending enough to get the kind of savings you need to cut taxes to any meaningful extent — basically, you have to either starve the public schools of funds or throw the old folks out of the nursing homes onto the streets. The Gates report’s analysis of the revenue structure makes it pretty clear that small business is overtaxed in our state, but the only way you can give them tax relief is to shift part of that burden to affluent households, the only group that is both undertaxed and able to pay higher taxes. Using a state income tax to eliminate the B & O tax and reduce the state sales tax would reallocate the tax burden in this manner and also provide the state with a more stable revenue base, but political resistance to a state income tax makes real tax reform an unlikely prospect. The legislature can’t do very much more in the direction of spending cuts without adversely affecting K-12 schools. We already have a higher education funding crisis in our state that is causing good students to be turned away from our public colleges, and that’s going to get even worse.

  10. 10

    Don spews:

    And tolls. Highway and bridge tolls are coming. It’s inevitable. There’s no other way to pay for viaduct and 520 bridge replacement, and the region’s other critical transportation needs.

  11. 11

    JCH spews:

    Why not just take all the private sector’s capital in WASH State? [once……..hehe] Atlas has Shrugged……….

  12. 12

    Mark spews:

    Daniel @ 8

    Forgot to add a smiley to my comment @ 4. Can we hug? ;)

    As I’ve mentioned in a previous thread, my incredibly beautiful, intelligent and wonderful S.O. is a hard-core Dem and former politico. We have much more in common than not.

    If the Kool-Aid drinking extremes of both parties could just tone it down, maybe some real progress could be made.

  13. 13

    spews:

    If the Kool-Aid drinking extremes of both parties could just tone it down, maybe some real progress could be made.

    I agree, which is why I view myself as a realistic optimist, and why I really have tried to engage with the “other side” on the other side.

    P.S. Good idea to listen to intelligent SOs. There is usually a good reason they say, think and feel the things they do.

  14. 14

    John spews:

    IMHO, my BS detector starts jumping when I see a (u)SP blogger appear in the local dailies.

    Great job Goldy of fact checking Goddard’s a**.

  15. 15

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Mark & Daniel K–
    Intellectually, I agree more can be accomplished if folks are reasonable and stick to the issues. Frankly, I have more friends that hate Bush than love Bush…yet we’re still friends.

    However, dissenting opinions are ciritical to good government.
    When you see the Democrats putting forth House Bill 1875 and Senate Bill 5842 all in the name of “improving worker safety, accident prevention and worker outcomes thru Labor & Industries Retro Program” and then read the text….it’s outrageous. It should be met with outrage. It is nothing more than a Big Labor effort to kill Trade Associations and have Big Sister State Government get involved in supposedly “protecting” small business by micro-managing voluntary programs. They even want L&I to AUDIT Associations. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

    So gentlemen…outrageous acts ought to be met with outrage!!!
    Mark…I’ve seen firsthand how the Lefty’s try to suck us in to discussions about “civility” and “being heard” and “consensus” all while having their hand in our back pockets and trying to water down “free enterprise”. Careful friend.

  16. 16

    Rick spews:

    The real issue in reconfiguring our tax structure is that NOBODY believes that Olympia will actually replace a regressive tax with a somewhat more progressive tax. The brave Democrats will only ADD a state income tax (in the name of “fairness”) on top of the punitive sales tax and pretend the new recipe is better.

  17. 17

    John spews:

    The real issue in reconfiguring our tax structure is that NOBODY believes that Olympia will actually replace a regressive tax with a somewhat more progressive tax.

    I guess that’s settled, we can all accept the status quo and go back to sleep. Oh, I forgot, kick Gregoire out of the Mansion and put Dino in. That’ll put things on the right track.

    Things are just so much easier when you’re “right”.

  18. 18

    Don spews:

    jch @ 7

    Why would the rich move out of Washington? They’re getting a free ride here. Wouldn’t have it so good anywhere else. According to the Gates Commission report, low income households pay four times as much of their income to state and local taxes as affluent households do, in percentage terms — about 15% vs. 4%. They won’t get a deal like that in any other state!

  19. 20

    Don spews:

    Cyn @ 15

    Are you really surprised the Dems are trying to stop the BIAW from using L & I tax money to fund Rossi’s election challenge? Sure it’s partisan. But everything the GOPers do is partisan, too.

  20. 21

    Frank spews:

    To Don/17 – I haven’t read the study. Did it include all State and Local taxes, such as property taxes, or was it on sales taxes only?

  21. 22

    Erik spews:

    Timothy, first I apologize if my tone went over the top, as at least one person has privately suggested. I appreciate the fact that you and I have a civil discourse.

    Well Tim,

    Goldy’s been pretty generous to you.

    You called it shameful and partisan and propagandistic. And you hadn’t even read the study to which they were referring.

    The thing is that facts should matter even on a blog. If you are believe an article, blogger or other source has made a mistake, consider performing the research first and then substantively point out where you believe the information is wrong.

    Don’t you think this is a better approach that just glancing at an article and declaring:

    This study is both out of date and absurd on its face.

    Perhaps with some inquiry and discussion you may decide the source was right all along or reinforce your views that it was wrong.

  22. 23

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 20

    …the Dems are trying to stop the BIAW from using L & I tax money to fund Rossi’s election challenge

    Don, please research a bit more about the “retro” programs. NO tax dollars are being used by the BIAW or anyone else. These are refunds of overpaid fees to L&I.

    The bill Mr. C refers to is purely and simply a smack back in the face of the BIAW from the legislative Left (who are, of course, beholden to the unions, etc.). Unfortunately, it is what happens when the BIAW shoots its mouth off about all of its “victories.”

  23. 25

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 23

    Oh please. L & I doesn’t collect “fees,” it collects “taxes,” and BIAW takes money off the top from tax refunds, and uses it to fund their right-wing causes. Meanwhile, the businesses who paid these taxes gripe about excessive L & I taxes and an “out of control” injured workers system. Maybe they prefer to be in the tort system instead?

    The L & I system is now almost 100 years old, and people today don’t know its history or how it came about. It was a product of the industrial revolution’s early “reform era” and a historic tradeoff: Workers got a no-fault insurance system for workplace injuries, and employers got tort immunity. It was a good deal for both, and was supported by reformers, unionists, and business alike.

  24. 26

    Don spews:

    jch @ 11

    Few things in this world are more laughable than owners of capital whining about how poor they are.

  25. 27

    Goldy spews:

    Mark @23

    I was at the House Finance Committee hearing when the AWB rep insisted that workers comp fees are taxes. So I suppose what you’re telling me is that they are “taxes” when businesses pay them, but something else when they get paid back in the form of a rebate?

  26. 28

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 25 & Goldy @ 27

    My mistake for using the words “taxes” and “fees” too sloppily. But that wasn’t my point. My point was that these “retro” programs are optional and companies can choose to join whatever retro group is open to them (or not join at all). The refund money belongs to the member companies of the group and they’re free to do with it what they wish — including designating some of it for BIAW use.

  27. 29

    John spews:

    Breaking:

    Carla and TorridJoe post the next in their debunking Sharkansky series (I hate that word “fisking”).

    See it here.

  28. 30

    spews:

    If you’re going to debunk….make sure you have your facts in order.

    Make sure you’re using the best information available, too.

    I’m speaking from experience on this one.

    And thanks for the plug on the new story, John.

  29. 31

    jim spews:

    Mr C @ 15

    You said “However, dissenting opinions are ciritical to good government.”

    Would you mind telling the Shark that the same is true for good blogs?

  30. 32

    RonK, Seattle spews:

    Mark @5 — Shorter version: Politicians of every stripe will screw us somehow, so let’s just beat ‘em to the punch and screw ourselves.

    Sims proposed an explicit swap: income tax in, B&O and state portion of sale tax out. No gimmicks, nothing up the sleeve. People still wouldn’t hear of it.

    For now, we’re mostly screwing the little guy … but step by miserable step, unfunded infrastructure will screw the business climate in this state.

  31. 34

    Danny spews:

    It kind of makes me proud of Preston Gates when I hear him on TV and radio blasting WA regressive taxes. I have heard him refer to it as a moral issue as well as an economic one and I agree. But where are the church leaders and principled business leaders on this? The old adage about a fair tax is one someone else pays must be the principle– and there are more poor people than rich. Danny

  32. 35

    JCH spews:

    “From each, according to their abilities,……To each, according to their needs,” and Democrats have unlimited needs, so pay up!! [Marx and Kerry/Gore/Kennedy/Pelosi/and other Democrat all seem to soind the same!] JCH

  33. 36

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 28

    If these companies truly want to donate to BIAW, all they have to do is (1) write a check to BIAW, and (2) quit complaining about “high” L & I taxes that they’re actually donating to BIAW. It seems perfectly sensible to me that the Legislature might figure the state should not be a party to this political donation process, as it is now. After all, the money is collected by the state before it is “donated” to BIAW. But I would go farther and say that I see absolutely nothing wrong with the Democratic-controlled legislature retaliating against BIAW for bankrolling Rossi’s election contest. Hell, the GOP retaliates against their political enemies all the time, so why shouldn’t we? Democrats have been too nice to Republicans for far too long.

  34. 37

    Don spews:

    jch @ 35

    That tired old “Democrats are Marxists” line was worn out 50 years ago, so you’re not fooling anyone (except yourself). Some people just like to hear themselves talk, I guess.

  35. 38

    Mark spews:

    Don @ 36

    I may need to re-read the bill, but I seem to recall there being language that forbid the organization from charging ANY fees above and beyond those needed for plan admin.

    Hell, the GOP retaliates against their political enemies all the time, so why shouldn’t we?

    You get points for being honest. Now if the Leg would just be so.

    Democrats have been too nice to Republicans for far too long.

    You’ve just been more subversive. At least if you take the gloves off, people will see the “Democratic Wing” of the Dem Party (to borrow Dean’s phrase) for its ranting, groupthink self. Have at it!

    The crazier the fringes get, the more reasonable people will start critically thinking for themselves.

  36. 39

    zip spews:

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with the Democratic-controlled legislature retaliating against BIAW for bankrolling Rossi’s election contest. Hell, the GOP retaliates against their political enemies all the time, so why shouldn’t we?

    Don @ 36

    How have the Republicans ever had a chance to retaliate against any Democrats in this state? We all know who runs this state and it ain’t been the Republicans for a loooong time. Following your “Progressive” approach, when the Republicans finally do gain control, should they retaliate against the teachers union and public employee unions?

    As for your support for the income tax, it is not widely understood that our lack of income tax is one of the only competitive advantages that our state businesses have when recruiting skilled professionals from out of state. There is a coming shortage of professionals in many fields and we will need every advantage available to us to avoid ours being lured away and to keep an influx to WA.

  37. 40

    Jeff B. spews:

    All,

    Check out Timothy Goddard’s blog. He’s corrected his error with additional comments as I knew he would.

    From where I stand, Timothy gets the last laugh. Good thing someone is debunking the debunkers.

    Now, if Goldy posts an update, then maybe he will begin to take steps toward the big league where Timothy already plays.

  38. 41

    spews:

    Correction: PI reporting very slightly less shoddy (but still shoddy)
    Yesterday I was apparently a bit hasty in accusing the PI of shoddy journalism, as helpfully pointed out by David Goldstein. Now, having soberly reflected on my error, I will accuse them of shoddy journalism again (very slightly less shoddy, but still…

  39. 42

    zip spews:

    The study does not properly account for the B & O tax, which in the case of a small business is actually paid by the business owner. Many small business owners are in the top 20%, so are actually taxed much more heavily than implied by the study. If memory serves, Gates Sr. didn’t make that connection either.

    According to this:

    http://www.researchcouncil.org.....zindex.htm

    the B & O tax on a small business is equivalent to an 11% personal income tax on the small business owner. So all you tax reformers that keep wanting to replace the sales tax with an income tax had also better take care of the B & O tax.

    The point of criticism of the PI should also be that they totally ignore this aspect of the state personal tax structure. The more than 200,000 small businesses in Washington make up over 95% of all businesses in the state and provide nearly 60% of the jobs in the private sector. Maybe the PI doesn’t know or care. Or maybe Tim was right and the reporter was just passing this study along to promote an agenda and didn’t even think about whether the study was accurate or not.

    And as for the PI describing service businesses as massages and manicures, that is blatant bias showing through.

  40. 43

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    zip–
    The B&O tax is critical. Most cities also charge B&O tax.
    Cities and municipalities charge Utility Taxes too!!!!!!!!!
    These Lefty’s know how to twist the facts by ignoring ALL relevant taxes. Local taxes matter too. The Legislature GAVE local governments the opportunity to charge these B&O and Utility Taxes and then give them Unfunded Mandates to pay for State directed services (the Ultimate Shell-game).
    Our 30-year Career State Attorney Don knows all about trying to suck every dollar possible out of the private sector and rationalize it with the “Racist, Child Abuser, old-people will die, selfish rich people” banter. Blood-sucking career government attorney. Now he gets a big government pension!
    Ain’t life great Zip?!!

  41. 44

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Zip–
    Thank you for raising that B&O tax issue. Let’s compile a more comprehensive list of other Local fees & taxes as well as State Fees & taxes.
    These Lefty’s always seem to “forget” some taxes & fees, don’t they!

  42. 45

    Don spews:

    Mark @ 38

    Re “subversive” whine: You’re right, I’m very disloyal to all stripes of fascism, including the GOP version.

  43. 46

    Don spews:

    zip @ 39

    Democrats have run this state for the good of its residents, e.g., their education, prosperity, health, well-being, etc. Anyone who claims we’ve practiced the kind of dirty politics that Republicans are so well know for is simply lying. But it seems that from the right-wing point of view, not getting their way constitutes being pushed around. Of course, it never occurs to them that one of the reasons they keep losing elections in this state is because the majority of Washingtonians don’t want the right-wing agenda shoved down their throats.

  44. 47

    Don spews:

    zip @ 39 (continued)

    Overtax poor people so affluent professionals don’t have to pay taxes? That’s quite a “selling point” (as you put it) that you have in mind for our state. Hey, if you drive all the poor people out of our state, who will clean your houses and watch your children for $7.35 an hour? LOL!

  45. 48

    Don spews:

    zip @ 42

    You don’t read much, do you? I’ve said all along the B & O tax needs to go. Ron Sims said that, too, and if Sims is against a tax it must be pretty bad. (I’ve also said I’m not a Sims fan.) The vast majority of small business ownbers are NOT in the top 20% income group. As the Gates report pointed out, the B & O is especially harmful to startups that aren’t making money, and discourages business formation and job creation in our state. A state income tax would shift tax burden from those making less money (including many small business owners) to those making more money.

    Cynical @ 43

    If you think living on my state pension is a bed of roses, I’ll gladly trade you my income for your income, sight unseen. Are you game?

  46. 49

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Don@ 48
    I spent 30 years taking risks and building my business.
    I have no “guaranteed income”. Hard-work & risk…something you obviously know NOTHING about!!!

    And Democrats do everything for the citizens best interest….hmmm isn’t that what Marx talked about??
    You Lefty’s sure want people to be reliant on YOU, the government, thru regulation and handouts.

    Lefty career State Attorney’s don’t impress me much.
    People who take risks and work hard do.
    Don, now you can spend the rest of your days trying to convince yourself that you were somehow “meaningful”. Good luck.

  47. 50

    jcricket spews:

    Lefty career State Attorney’s don’t impress me much.
    People who take risks and work hard do.
    Don, now you can spend the rest of your days trying to convince yourself that you were somehow “meaningful”. Good luck.

    Remember, according to Cynical, government workers of people who are funded by the government are “scum suckers”, “meaningless” and “a$$holes”.

    I guess that includes the military, police officers, fire fighters, public school teachers and county hospital workers. Or biomedicalresearchers (funded by NIH) working to cure AIDS, cancer or developing new heart treatments. Don’t forget to include the state attornies (like Elliot Spitzer) that successfully sued HealthSouth, Enron and Znetix to punish them for abusing their workers/misleading the public/committing fraud. Oh, and the prosecuting attornies who bring criminals to trial and put them into jail.

    Or maybe I forgot to read the announcements that all those things were funded privately now.

    To give him a tiny bit of credit, Cynical tries to “weasel” out of his statements by adding “Lefty” to the beginning. But it’s really clear that he simply doesn’t want the government to spend any money unless it helps him directly.

  48. 52

    Don spews:

    Cyn @ 51

    “I never said all government workers are scum-suckers & a$$holes.
    … However, you and Don are.”

    Why thank you! There is no higher accolade for a lawyer-bureaucrat! :)

    P.S., I notice you didn’t take my offer, so may I assume there’ll be no more bitching about my government pension?

  49. 53

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    As I said Don–
    I took risks running my own business….you did & were not successful. You couldn’t make it in the real world. You are fortunate to have scammed what you got.

  50. 54

    M spews:

    We already have a de facto income tax. It is called the Washington Business and Occupation Tax. A really awful tax. As long as that thing exists, no way in honk I’m gonna let them institute an income tax.

  51. 55

    zip spews:

    Don @ 47

    The concept of our state having any “competitive advantage” is what I am talking about. Look at the high hopes we have for high tech, biotech, etc. What I am saying is that a skilled professional in these areas (and many other professional areas) will be less likely to relocate to WA if we have a state income tax. Also our existing skilled work force will be more likely to be recruited away. This is a fcator that has to be considered as part of the picture by all the supporters of a state income tax. Together with the fact that a B & O tx and an income tax combined would be fatal to lots of small business owners.

    Go ahead and twist that around (“Overtax poor people so affluent professionals don’t have to pay taxes”) to make some insult about my motives, Don. If resentment and envy are really what’s driving your agenda, go ahead and say it out loud. We expect no less.

  52. 56

    torridjoe spews:

    zip, do you have any evidence to back that up? Simply saying they will be less likely to relocate, doesn’t cut it. Are people going to begin refusing to work for Microsoft because of personal income tax? I’d argue that because almost all states have them, going from one income tax state to another would make no notable difference.

    When you say it would be fatal, what’s your evidence? It’s that same kind of “common sense” garbage that leads people to claim without backing that minimum wage laws cause large numbers of people to lose their jobs.

  53. 57

    jcricket spews:

    There are, IIRC, less than 7 states left without a personal income tax. People and businesses choose there locations for reasons greater than just tax. Access to capital, land, skilled labor, a business community are probably even more important. Vicinity to good community, a growing population and affordable housing also matter to those more “civic-minded” organizations (or the people who run them).

    If we could actually pass something similar to the “Sims’ plan” instituting a state income tax and eliminating the B&O tax and state portion of sales tax, we’d eliminate much of the regressiveness of the WA state sales tax, while also reducing the burden on businesses (especially small, unprofitable startups). This would probably make WA state more competitive, especially to start a business. Don’t forget you can deduct the state income taxes from your federal tax bill.Couple this with less reliance on increasing property taxes or passing levies because an income tax keeps up with population, and you might actually pay less in tax than you do now.

    But far be it for a Republican to honestly engage that idea. Better to keep believing in a “free lunch” – that eliminating all taxes will have no negative effect on critical services.

    torridjoe – Ever see the data to back up the anti-estate-tax crowd’s contention that family farmers couldn’t pass on their farms because of the estate tax? That’s right, despite all their rhetoric, they couldn’t come up with a single example.

  54. 58

    Mark spews:

    JC @ 57

    Couple this with less reliance on increasing property taxes or passing levies because an income tax keeps up with population, and you might actually pay less in tax than you do now.

    But the fact remains that I have yet to see a Dem legislator say they have plenty of money or that they might even have too much to work with. They will always play the FUD card when it comes to taxation. Kinda reminds me of when my dad was in the army many decades ago. He was directed to spend the entire supply (uniforms, etc.) budget every year — whether they needed to or not — so that they wouldn’t have their budget cut the following year.

    But far be it for a Republican to honestly engage that idea. Better to keep believing in a “free lunch” – that eliminating all taxes will have no negative effect on critical services.

    Do you mean a GOP legislator or a civilian? I think many will honestly engage in that discussion, but the overwhelming distrust of the gov’t. when it comes to taxation hampers dialog. No reasonable person believes in wiping out ALL taxes. But there is some debate over what constitutes a “critical service.”

  55. 59

    jcricket spews:

    He was directed to spend the entire supply (uniforms, etc.) budget every year – whether they needed to or not – so that they wouldn’t have their budget cut the following year.

    I’ve seen this at far more places than just the government. Nearly all major corporations do their budgeting this way. Always ends up leading to them “spending down” whatever’s left over (and not always on the best stuff). There’s an alternative method of budgeting called “zero based budgeting”. I’m generally in favor of it, but it’s not without its cons.

    http://www.mackinac.org/print.asp?ID=5928

    I think many will honestly engage in that discussion, but the overwhelming distrust of the gov’t. when it comes to taxation hampers dialog. No reasonable person believes in wiping out ALL taxes. But there is some debate over what constitutes a “critical service.”

    You’re right that most people don’t believe in wiping out ALL taxes. But it’s not just the definition of critical services that’s at issue. Some (mostly on the right) distrust government so much that they’ll gladly support an initiative (I-900) despite a compelling, lower-cost alternative.

  56. 60

    Mark spews:

    jcricket @ 59

    Just read the stuff on the link. Very interesting. I like it!

    Some… distrust government so much that they’ll gladly support an initiative (I-900) despite a compelling, lower-cost alternative.

    I’ve read HB 1064 and the two big differences I see are that I-900 gives more authority to the state auditor and the scope of audits includes not only state, but also county, local and quasi-governmental agencies.

  57. 61

    Goldy spews:

    Mark @60

    That’s mostly true, but understand that HB 1064 does let the State Auditor do performance audits on local governments at the local government’s request. And it still gives the auditor quite a bit of authority.

    The biggest difference is that I-900 makes audits mandatory, and would cost $45 million a year to fully implement. (Eyman allocates $10 million)

  58. 62

    jcricket spews:

    The biggest difference is that I-900 makes audits mandatory, and would cost $45 million a year to fully implement. (Eyman allocates $10 million)

    C’mon Goldy, wingers are all about the unfunded mandate. NCLB being one shining example. Republicans are all for forcing state governments to do more, but never want to fund those requests, unless it’s money for the military or subsidies for their “pet” industries.

  59. 63

    G Davis spews:

    I’m glad you pointed out the cost of automatic audits Goldy…talk about growing government!

    Tax reform could be an interesting conversation. I do think there are a couple of variable that need to be defined before any meaningful discussion can take place.

    The first and foremost is define government. What should it do, what services should it supply.

    Secondly define essential employee in government. How much do we trim from the annual budget simply by removing one or two layers of bureaucrats?

    Revenue streams will come and go. They will shift with the economic climate of the day.

    The broad based definitions of what we think government should be and who should run it are constant.

    BTW, Mr. C are you revealing in your comment 53 that you’re really Anne Coulter’s dad? Good grief, those kinds of personal slams get the discourse no where, do nothing but sink the room into a mire of muck. You got where you on by standing on someone’s back as they before you did. Give it a rest.