Milking the gax-tax issue

July 7, 2008

Hey, that would make a pretty good slogan for Jill Long Thompson, wouldn’t it? “A gallon of milk in every fridge, and a bowl of cereral on every table!”:

When asked what she would do to offset a $120 million hit on the state budget, Thompson simply said that savings could be found over time. But Hoosiers were hurting now, she said, and Daniels should act.

She said saving $3.50 on a fill-up “would buy a gallon of milk, and if you fill up twice in a week, you are talking about milk and cereal, so you’re talking about savings that could be very helpful.”

Actually, that’s with her gimmicky “suspend the sales tax until Labor Day” plan. Her gimmicky plan to collect tax only on the first $2.75 per gallon would save me, I figure, about $2 a fillup at current prices. The temporary tax suspension wouldn’t really put pressure on the state to reduce spending. The $2.75 cap (I understand) would be permanent, but would benefit individual consumers very little and leave the state with a lot of money to make up for. I’d much rather see her argue to simply end the sales tax on gas permanently, either on the grounds that we don’t tax other necessities (like food and medicine) or on the grounds that we shouldn’t put a sales tax on goods that already have other taxes included in the price. That way, the state can make permanent plans for the lack of money, either by cutting spending elsewhere or trying to persuade us that some other tax must be increased.

And if the goal is to put pressure on Gov. Daniels — to make him the Republican actually defending a tax — the complete elimination would definitely be the way to go.

( And Herbert Hoover didn’t promise what some people think he did, btw. The only reference to “a chicken in every pot and a car in every backyard, to boot” was in a newspaper ad put in a number of papers by the Republican National Committee. The closest he got was “Vote for Prosperity.” Yeah, that worked out real well.)

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