Monday, July 02, 2012
Tx GOP Raises Taxes (Just Not On Rich)
Now some of you fellow Texans may be thinking "I don't remember a tax raise. Isn't the sales tax the same as it was before?" -- in which case I have to think you must not have been paying attention. Yes, the rate of the state sales tax (the most lucrative tax for state government) is the same as it was in 2009. But that one fact doesn't mean taxes weren't raised.
First of all, all kinds of fees were raised. This is a favorite dodge of Republicans. If they raise a fee, they can claim they didn't raise taxes. But that's just playing word games. The fact is, if they government is taking more money out of your pocket, then they have raised taxes -- and calling it a fee instead of a tax doesn't change that a bit.
Second, the claim they didn't increase sales taxes is not true. They increased them by making sure that they now apply to anything any Texan buys off the internet. Now I'm sure the Republican legislators will say this wasn't a tax raise -- just a clarification of tax law. But the fact is that Texans weren't paying taxes on items bought off the internet, and now they are.
One company tried to fight the new internet tax -- Amazon.com. But the Republican State Comptroller, Susan Combs, went after them. And Amazon finally capitulated. On July 1st, they started charging Texas customers the required state sales tax. There won't be any more tax-free books, tapes, etc.
I'm not really against the new sales tax. I think it just levels the playing field between local retailers and internet retailers -- and that's a good thing for your local neighborhood businesses. But I just don't like hearing Republicans claim they didn't raise taxes. I didn't use to have to pay a tax on internet purchases and now I do -- and that's a tax raise, whether they want to admit it or not.
Just remember, the next time you hear a Republican say he/she "won't raise taxes", there is some fine print to that pledge. And that fine print says taxes on the rich or on corporations won't be raised. The new internet tax (and the higher fees) mean nothing for a rich person or a corporation (since it is such a tiny portion of their income or doesn't apply to them at all). But for the poor, the working class, and many in the middle class, it's not negligible at all. It's a tax raise and it means they have less to spend on other things.
Republicans don't really mind raising taxes -- on everyone but the rich.