Thursday, January 15, 2009

When You're In A Hole, Keep Digging

Posted By on Thu, Jan 15, 2009 at 9:34 AM

Daniel Scarpinato of the morning daily tells us that business leaders who visited the Capitol yesterday had one big request for state lawmakers: Cut the state property tax permanently.

The tax, which was suspended for three years as part of a bad budget deal cut between Gov. Janet Napolitano and Republican lawmakers, is set to return this year. You might think, given that the state is facing a shortfall of somewhere around $3 billion (if you count this year and the upcoming fiscal year), that the state could use another $250 million, which is what the tax would bring in.

But the GOP majority is convinced that by cutting the tax (which, by the way, costs the average homeowner less than $10 a month), they'll stimulate the economy. Sure. And that's why, after suspending the property tax and cutting income taxes by $500 million three years ago, the economy is performing so well. Oh, wait--we're on the verge of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Is it possible that cutting taxes doesn't automatically spur the economy? Is it possible that raising taxes--strategically--can help the economy? It seems like the tax increases of the early 1990s put the United States on the path to a booming economy that left the federal government with a surplus (which was, of course, squandered by the Bush tax cuts, but I digress.)

At any rate, all the arguments in the world won't make a difference with this legislature. Tax cuts are an article of faith with them.

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