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Stop Rightwing Tax Campaigns

On the Ballot: Defeating TABOR, Defending Relationship Equality Laws & A Roundup of Other Ballot Issues

Along with giving a roundup of the range of initiatives on the ballot in this off-year election, this Dispatch will give special focus to the campaigns against TABOR and defending relationship equality laws.

Eye on Center for Fiscal Accountability

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Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform has a policy center called the Center for Fiscal Accountability, where they promote many of their anti-government policies, from deadlocking legislatures with supermajority requirements to mandated spending limits to strangle social services.

Big Business Already Giving Big to Take Down Oregon Tax Increase

Earlier this year, policymakers in Oregon enacted both temporary and permanent changes in the state’s tax system to help close an enormous budget gap and, by extension, provide funding for vital services like education, health care, and public safety... Yet, due to quirks in Oregon’s legislative process, opponents of these changes have an opportunity to put them before the voters for approval via referendum.  Not surprisingly, representatives of big business and a who’s who of anti-tax organizations are attempting to take full advantage of that opportunity.

Nutty, Dangerous "Fair Tax" Approved in Missouri House - Reports Highlight Likely Tax Increases for Working Families If Enacted

If most state legislatures are considering reasonable revenue increases this year, a few, like Missouri's House, have been captured by rightwing anti-tax fundamentalists.  One of the pet ideas of the far right in recent years has been eliminating the income tax for both individuals and corporations and replacing it with a sales tax applied to every transaction.  The rightwing call it the "fair tax" and the Missouri House became the first legislative chamber in the country to vote for a constitutional amendment, HJR 36, that would put the issue to voters in 2010.

Taxing High-Income Residents: Better than Budget Cuts, Better for Economic Growth

After resisting the proposal for months, New York Governor Patterson has agreed with legislative leaders to raise income taxes on the wealthiest state residents in order to help close the state budget gap.  “It’s a profound breakthrough for tax fairness,” said Dan Cantor, executive director of the Working Families Party, an organization of New York individuals, labor unions and other groups that was a leader in the campaign to raise the tax rates.  The New York deal is part of a national movement of state leaders looking to raise new revenue from high-income residents to avoid budget cuts and fund needed investments for long-term economic recovery.

Overview on Stopping Rightwing Tax Campaigns

For decades, property tax revolts have been a thorn in the side of progressives.  California's Proposition 13 remains the highest profile example of the property tax revolt, but just about every legislator in the country can attest to the level of frustration many Americans feel about property taxes. 

  • Progressives can begin to challenge property tax caps by simply presenting research showing the regressive nature of property tax caps in a compelling way. 
  • They also need to fight the rightwing promoting one of the most disastrous tax policies in recent decades, namely variations on Colorado'sso-called Taxpayer Bill Of Rights (TABOR) which created a rigid cap on increases in state spending tied to inflation and economic growth, decimating the state's investments in education, health care, and social services.
  • One other dangerous form of tax limitation laws are rules that require supermajorities to pass any tax increase.  In such cases,  special interests may be able to enact a tax break for themselves with a simple majority, but then can often block repeal of the tax loophole as a "tax increase" that can be blocked by a minority of legislators