Saturday, May 05, 2012
Teabaggers Think Texas Taxes Aren't Regressive Enough
The sales tax is easily the most regressive kind of tax, because it takes a much larger percentage of the income of the poor, working class, and middle class, than it does from the rich or from corporations. In fact, the lower your income, the larger percentage of that income is paid in sales taxes. You can't get anymore regressive than that.
The conservative mantra is that the poor don't pay property taxes because they don't own property. That sounds good, but it isn't true. Landlords pass on their property taxes to their renters, and businesses pass on their property taxes to their customers. So the truth is that no one avoids paying property taxes. However, the property tax is a bit more progressive than sales taxes, because the owner of a very expensive property will generally pay more in taxes than the owner of a property that is not worth very much.
And even a slightly progressive tax system is anathema to teabaggers (ultra-right-wing Republicans). And it seems that they have figured out that the property tax is a slightly progressive tax -- that taxes the mansion of a multi-millionaire more than it taxes the hovel of a poor person (even though both pay the same rate). The very thought of the rich (and corporations) actually having to pay taxes has sent them into a tizzy.
Led by their failed gubernatorial candidate, Debra Medina, Texas teabaggers have asked the state legislature to outlaw property taxes. Testifying before the House Ways and Means Committee, which is currently looking at tax fairness, Medina and her cohorts asked that property taxes be banned, and replaced with an "improved" sales tax and new business taxes. Now any observer of state government will know that the Republican leadership in Austin is not going to raise or create new taxes on businesses (because that might affect the rich, and would certainly affect corporations).
That means that the teabaggers are actually asking state government to replace the property tax with a bigger sales tax (either through a higher tax rate or a broadened tax base, or both). In effect, this would raise taxes on the poor and working classes while lowering them for the rich and corporations -- making Texas the absolute king of regressive taxation.
This is sheer insanity. But then sanity or common sense has never been a teabagger attribute.