Wednesday, April 29, 2009

House Budget part 1: Saving you from sugar tax by taxing everything else

First in a series of thoughts on this week’s budget battle in the state house.

Well, the Massachusetts House ignored my advice and passed a sales-tax increase Monday night, bumping the rate from 5% to 6.25%. In my previous post, I suggested the idea that being “afraid that voting for a string of tax changes would look bad on [a reps] record” was “a ridiculous thought if I’ve ever heard one.” Rep. Vincent Pedone of Worcester appears to be one of those members, as evidenced by his comments in the Telegram & Gazette:
Mr. Pedone said he switched [his vote] partly because of the argument that raising one tax was better than the numerous smaller tax hikes the governor has proposed. “It was a realization that we could not get core services delivered to the people of the commonwealth without this tax increase,” Mr. Pedone said….

“I don’t want to tax candy, and alcohol, and soda, and increase tolls, and continue down the line of the ‘taxes du jour’ proposed by the governor,” Mr. Pedone said.
So instead of taxing “candy, and alcohol, and soda,” Mr. Pedone thinks we’re better off by raising the sales tax on everything else. That’s I cannot follow that logic at all, unless Pedone does not want to be on the record as “Yea on sin taxes, yea on gas taxes, yea on meals taxes.” Instead he can say “Well, I only voted to raise taxes once.”

It will be interesting to see if this pretzel-twist logic wins the day, or if voters see through it.

Next: The Governor Wins by Losing

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