20 July 2006

Calvert's Tax Bill: Bad Time for a Good Idea

I'm not a big fan of capital gains taxes. Actually, I'm not a big fan of the whole tax system in general. The only reason it exists in its convoluted form is so that there can be an abundance of loopholes which can be exploited by corporations and wealthy individuals.

But capital gains taxes really are a tax on investment in the economy. I would rather see corporations pay their fair share rather than taxing the investor after the corporation makes its profit and then uses loopholes to evade payment.

The only change to tax policy that I would take seriously is a total restructuring. Most changes made these days are meant to appease the special interests that fund the campaigns of the people that end up in office. Obviously, they're not going to change the tax code because that means biting the hand that feeds them.

We just had a blatantly obvious instance of this right here in Hamilton County. Remember Phil ("What do you mean I'm an asshole?") Heimlich's recent proposal to reduce property taxes and raise sales taxes? Heimlich didn't even bother hiding the fact that the idea came from Carl Lindner to benefit Carl Lindner. Hell, they even made the announcement together.

Now we have another instance of special interest tax policy, this time at the state level. Rep. Chuck Calvert (R-Medina) has sponsored HB 626 which would gradually reduce capital gains taxes from 5% to 3%.

Calvert's bill has been analyzed by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which reports that "the bill getting a hearing today in the Ohio House would give three-fourths of the cuts to the 1 percent of Ohio's wealthiest residents, whose income next year will average $812,000, over the first three years." [CinPo...]

Capital gains will always benefit wealthier people more. That's always going to be the case. That in itself is not the problem; the problem is giving the wealthiest Ohioans a tax break in an economic environment characterized by (a) widening wealth inequality, and (b) diminishing state returns. It was only a few months ago that municipalities across the state had to face decisions about which services to cut. Here's the post I wrote about it.

Here's my idea: keep the capital gains taxes and trash the gambling proposals. Earmark capital gains revenues for education. This would obviate the "need" for gambling revenues to fund education. I'm sure OL&E will support this, since their primary concern is educating children. Is that right, Todd Hoffman?

Contact your state legislator and tell him/her to oppose HB 626. It is not sensible at this time.

Click here to find your House member.

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