The third Tom Steyer Ad –
The same conservative “principles” of cutting taxes to foster growth have led Governor Sam Brownback’s Kansas to the same place it led Bobby Jindals, Louisiana during his reign.
No wonder The idjit in charge wants to do this to the whole country,
Republicans in Kansas broke ranks with the state’s conservative governor Tuesday night, voting to raise tax rates and put an end to a series of cuts.
The GOP revolt is a defeat for Gov. Sam Brownback, who overhauled the state’s tax system beginning in 2012, bringing down rates and causing repeated, severe budgetary shortfalls.
Kansas’s legislature is overwhelmingly Republican, but moderate GOP lawmakers joined with Democrats, overriding Brownback’s veto of a bill they’d already passed once that would raise taxes again by $600 million a year. Eighteen of the state’s 31 GOP senators and 49 of the 85 Republican members of the House voted against the governor.
The victory for Brownback’s opponents resulted in part from their gains in last year’s election. Voters — frustrated that public schools were closing early and the state’s highways were in visible disrepair — rejected Brownback’s allies in favor of more moderate Republicans or Democrats.
“It was a hard vote for a lot of people to make last night,” said Rep. Melissa Rooker, a moderate Republican who represents a suburb of Kansas City. “Kansas has had a turn to the far right, and we seem to be centering ourselves.”
The legislation undoes the essential components of Brownback’s reforms, which he famously described as part of a “real-live experiment” in conservative governance.
Brownback had reduced the number of brackets for the state’s marginal rates on income from three to two. The legislature will restore the third bracket, increasing taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents from 4.6 percent to 5.2 percent this year and 5.7 percent next year.
Marginal rates on less affluent Kansan households will increase as well, from 4.6 percent to 5.25 percent by next year for married taxpayers making between $30,000 and $60,000 a year and from 2.7 percent to 3.1 percent for those earning less than that.
The legislation also scraps a plan to bring those rates down even further in future years, one of Brownback’s promises to conservative supporters.
Finally, the legislature eliminated a cut Brownback had put in place to help small businesses. Analysts said that the provision had become a loophole, as many Kansans were able to avoid paying taxes entirely by pretending to be small businesses.
Initially, the state forecast that about 200,000 small businesses would take advantage of the break. As it turned out, about 330,000 entities would use Kansas’s new rule. That discrepancy suggests that tens of thousands of workers claimed that their incomes were from businesses they owned rather than from salaries.
“What we were able to do in the last 24 hours can allow us to start down that road, to begin repairing all the damage done after living with Gov. Brownback’s failed tax experiment for five years,” said Annie McKay, who is the president of Kansas Action for Children, an advocacy group in Topeka.
Tuesday’s vote was a rebuke not only for Brownback, but also for Republicans in Washington who have advocated similar cuts in taxes at the national level — including President Trump.
Republicans signing the Grover Norquest tax reduction plan have now failed utterly and disastriously in at least 3 States. Republican Governor Bobby Jindal took a state budget surplus to deficit levels never seen before. Things got so bad under Jindal and his Republican led legislature, they had to pawn the state owned vehicles at auction to keep the lights on.
Faced with a cash flow issue as the legislature tries desperately to recover funds through tax increases and revenue proposals back to the level required for basic services – the current proposal to cover the massive shortfall includes the decision to close the State Colleges and Universities, the largest of which is Louisiana Tech. Further – shutting down some hospitals in the state.
This sort of tax-slashing myopia and adherence to Republican Orthodoxy has now had serious impacts in 3 states, including Kansas, which had to shut down the Public School System last year, and Michigan where thousands were poisoned by the water in Flint.
Watch Rachel Maddow’s summary below – and the emergency speech by Louisiana’s new Democrat Governor, who has been in office less than a month.
Governor John Bel Edwards who has an uphill battle to get his Republican led legislature to see the light…
This is the Sheriff of Jefferson Parish, Louisiana – a Republican. Ran across him post-Katrina when working on trying to get the systems back up, when he worked for Harry Lee, the former Sheriff. He is a bright guy, and at least to my limited impression of him – a straight shooter. He is well educated and intelligent.
What Sheriff Newell Normand represents is the growing faction of the Republican Party who is getting tired of the same old tired answers, and massive tax cuts leading to debt resulting in massive cutting of community services run up in just about every state where there is a Republican majority in the legislature…And hobbling his state, Louisiana after Bobby Jindal’s disastrous governorship. What Jindal and his fellow Republicans have done to the state following bankrupt Republican orthodoxy are in some ways worse than Katrina.
Yet another sign that the poisoned Kool-Aid isn’t going down anymore.
Republican Sheriff Newell Normand might be a good ol’ boy from Jefferson Parish in Louisiana, but that didn’t stop him from lobbing a dose of reality at the Metropolitan Crime Commission’s annual awards luncheon on Tuesday. According to a video of the speech posted by WUVE, Normand bad-mouthed the GOP’s Beltway establishment and elected officials, notorious tax cutter Grover Norquist and called former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal an “idiot,” equating him to cult leader Jim Jones.
Normand fully admits that he endorsed and supported Jindal when he ran for governor, but that Jindal’s leadership destroyed the state that Normand holds dear. “What a mess. Bobby Jindal was a better cult leader than Jim Jones,” he said to laughter and applause from the audience. “We drank the elixir for eight years. We remained in a conscious state. We walked to the edge of the cliff and we jumped off and he watched us and guess what? Unlike Jim Jones he did not swallow the poison. What a shame.”
Normand accused Jindal of working after his reign to rewrite history when the rest of the state doesn’t “even know what history is.” Much like other states with Republican governors like Kansas and Oklahoma, Louisiana faces a substantial budget shortfall, to the tune of $2.5 billion. Jindal is telling the world that he did a phenomenal job as governor and Normand is furious about it.
“We have to just say no!” Normand said. “I’m a Republican but I’m not a hypocrite. We have to look at ourselves critically as a party and figure out where we are and what we’re going to be about.” He admitted to the audience that he was partly at fault because he “endorsed that idiot,” but said that it was time to move toward solutions. Due to the budget problems, Normand says that the state will be cutting funding to mental health which causes more problems for law enforcement officers. The state also plans to close five state prisons that houses 8,000 inmates.
He even denounced following the policy recommendations of Grover Norquist, who makes Republican candidates sign a pledge not to raise taxes. “We better get concerned. We better wake up. We better be honest,” Normand said. “We better talk about the issues because we are going to pay the price.” He continued saying that the state cannot cut its way to a balanced budget because doing so will cut the resources necessary for law enforcement officers like him to do their job safely and effectively. “We do not need to face the stupidity of our leadership as it relates to how we’re going to face balancing this budget and talking about these silly issues because we’re worried about what Grover Norquist thinks. To hell with Grover Norquist! I don’t care about Grover Norquist!” he said to audience applause. “We’re worried about the ATR report card,” he said, referencing Norquist’s group Americans for Tax Reform.
When it comes to the Republican party in Washington, D.C., Normand wants them to stop attacking. He cited Medicaid expansion which would cover the cost for things like drug addiction and mental health that officers often witness on the streets and in prisons. “And I have to listen to my Republican counterparts talk about gobbledigook. Blah, blah blah… And I’m so sick and tired of hearing: Obama, Obama, Obama. You know how much intellect it takes to blame something on somebody else? This much!” he said holding his hand up to indicate zero. “Propose a solution. Work together.” He closed by comparing politics to being married and asked how many people in the audience refuse to compromise in their marriages.
Lindsay Graham, the Republican Senator from South Carolina puts it more succinctly…
As the five remaining Republican presidential contenders battled it out in the Houston debate Thursday night, former candidate Lindsey Graham entertained a crowd at the Washington Press Club’s annual congressional dinner with his true feelings on the 2016 race. “My party has gone batshit crazy,” Graham told the crowd. The South Carolina senator lashed out at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, adding that he thinks the billionaire will lose in the general election “because he’s just generally a loser as a person and a candidate,” he said. Making light of his own failed campaign and subsequent endorsement of Jeb Bush, who dropped out on Saturday, Graham called himself the Dr. Jack Kevorkian of the Republican primary—before putting on a Trump hat.
It is becoming ever more painfully obvious that the Republican Tax Giveaway to the Rich is a major element in the country’s finances being in freefall. The Chamber of Commerce has increasingly become noting but a propaganda arm of the Republican Party, much like Faux News.
Michael Teahan, like his father, mother, and uncles before him, is a small business owner. The 52-year-old has spent most of his adult life running his own businesses: a restaurant, a coffee bar and various companies involved in the espresso machine business.
“I was the only person in my family to go to college, because that’s not what we did — we all opened up businesses,” Teahan says. “For some people, that’s a big hurdle … for us, it was like having lunch.”
Teahan currently operates Espresso Resource, a company that imports espresso machine parts from Europe to sell to U.S. restaurants and coffee shops. And he’s doing very well for himself: The two-man operation clears about $1 million a year in total sales, Teahan says — enough to secure himself annual income in excess of $250,000.
That makes Teahan one of the few small business owners to actually benefit from the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy. He says the cuts save him about $12,000 a year, compared to what he paid before they were enacted. But as debates over the federal budget deficit have intensified, Teahan has found the political discussion increasingly divorced from the reality of his experience as a small business owner.
Tax cuts for the wealthy, according to Teahan, will do nothing to bolster his firm. They won’t affect his hiring decisions, they won’t encourage him to buy new equipment or help him move into a bigger warehouse. He says all of those decisions — the nuts and bolts of actually running a small company — depend on the his customers’ economic conditions, not his personal tax rate.
“What we do in business, how we spend our money, how we allocate our resources — that has very little to do with tax policy,” Teahan says. “I map my business based on my customers, and what my customers want to buy, and what they can afford to buy.” Read the rest of this entry »
Obama just became a one term President.
Whatever tea leaves they are reading there in the White House, they must be liberally dosed with political strychnine as the paralysis of his government, and Administration is pathetic.
Last Friday, December 3, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that the unemployment rate had risen once again. A full three years after the current recession began in December 2007 there is no end in sight as to when the jobs markets will recover. This is in stark contrast to the full recovery of corporate profits and bankers bonuses, now back roughly to where they were in 2006-07, according to U.S. government data.
Banks now have a hoard of cash reserves of more than a trillion dollars, according to the business press. However, as U.S. Federal Reserve Bank data show, as the biggest 19 U.S. banks recovered in 2009-2010, their lending to small and medium businesses declined steadily. Nor has that lending recovered in 2010. Without bank lending to small businesses—the main engine of job creation in the U.S.—there can be no job creation.
Similarly the largest companies, the S&P 500 non-bank corporations, are also sitting on a hoard of cash. At last estimates, an amount of $1.84 trillion in liquid assets, according to the Financial Times business daily.
So with all that cash, why aren’t banks lending and big companies investing and creating jobs, one might ask?
The even more important question is: if banks and businesses have that record hoard of cash on hand why should their taxes be cut, in effect increasing even more that hoard of cash that isn’t being invested? Won’t they just continue to hoard the tax cut too?
The idea that cutting business and wealthy investors’ taxes originated in 1961 with then President John F. Kennedy. But at that time business investment tax cuts were tied to proven job creation. Businesses had to prove they added jobs before they could claim the tax cut. That was changed with Reagan. Now businesses could get the tax credits even if they didn’t create jobs. Their taxes were cut even if it meant they reduced jobs. By the time of George W. Bush, businesses could claim tax cuts for investments made offshore. GM cut hundreds of thousands of jobs in the U.S. while adding thousands in China. Ford cut jobs while adding them in St. Petersburg, Russia. Corporations could claim the investment tax cuts, even if jobs were created offshore and simultaneously eliminated in the U.S. In effect, U.S. taxpayers were paying US corporations to send their jobs overseas.
Between 2001-2004 George W. Bush pushed through a series of annual tax cuts for investors and corporations that amounted to a total of $3.4 trillion over the recent decade, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Every tax cut bill passed between 2001-2004 was called a jobs creation bill. More than 80% of the $3.4 trillion eventually accrued to the wealthiest 20% of households and corporations, and most of that to the top 0.1%, or 100,000 households, and the S&P’s largest companies. And what did George W. Bush’s business-investor tax cut produce in terms of jobs? The period 2001-2004 witnessed the weakest jobs creation on record following a recession. It took a full 46 months just to recover the level of jobs in the U.S. that existed in January 2001, when the recession began. Estimates today after the current recession are that it will take 7-8 years to recover the lost jobs, if even then.
Another, more recent test of the “business tax cuts create jobs” idea happened in the spring of 2008. Bush and Congress passed a $168 billion stimulus bill as the recession of 2007-2010 began to deepen. About $90 billion of that comprised tax cuts. What jobs did it create? None. The jobs market collapsed in the second half of 2008 at a rate of nearly one million a month for six months, a rate of job loss that roughly paralleled that of 1929-30.
The Obama stimulus bill of 2009 is yet another example of why tax cuts in general, and business-investor tax cuts in particular, do not create jobs. Of Obama’s original $787 billion stimulus passed in February 2009, about half were tax cuts and more than $225 billion were specifically business-investor cuts. Twenty months later we have virtually no net job creation. Private employers have created about 900,000 jobs in 2010, the majority of which are part time or temporary jobs. For its part, the federal government has created no net new jobs since Obama came into office, while State and Local government have laid off hundreds of thousands over the past year and even more cuts are planned for 2011. The U.S. Labor Department’s most conservative estimate of unemployment (called the ‘U-3’ statistic) today is 9.8% and 15.1 million jobless. The Labor Department’s more accurate estimate (called the ‘U-6’ statistic) today is 17.0% and roughly 23 million jobless.
So what did John Q. Taxpayer get for all that tax cutting? Certainly not jobs, but instead a huge deficit bill now coming due. Nonetheless, the debates in Washington now still focus on more tax cuts in 2011. So long as that’s the focus, the U.S. unemployment situation will continue to stagnate or worsen.