After attending yesterday’s legislative hearing about the new tax-reform bill, I had to go home and tend to some unexpected family business. (Not to worry, everyone’s OK.) But even if I’d been free all yesterday afternoon to write about the bill, I’m not sure I’d have known exactly what to say. I still don’t.
I will have more to say about the individual components of the package at a later date. For now, I’ll stick to my broad impression of it.
From the yeoman’s work of the members of a special council created two years ago to modernize a state tax code that had been appended and patched up with little more than duct tape over the years, we stand to get what amounts to this:
In short, this package is “comprehensive” only in the sense that it is wide-ranging. It is not complete and does not touch all or even the most important elements of the tax code. It will be beneficial to some people and businesses but not others, and it does not represent a true leveling of the taxation field.
Does this mean it’s a bad package? Not necessarily, and I will stipulate here that I want to know more about some aspects of the package before giving it a thumbs-up or -down. There are some elements that clearly are pro-growth, such as the exemption of manufacturers from the sales tax on energy — something all our neighboring states already have, and the lack of which hurts our competitiveness.
But if we compare it to the direction we’ve been led to believe our state political leaders want to take us — outlined in the bullet points above, but generally: flatter, lower, broader and simpler, and tilted more toward consumption than income — I don’t see how it measures up to that.
– By Kyle Wingfield