Wednesday, September 10, 2003

What if responsible tax reform was proposed, and nobody voted for it?

Well, Bob Riley tried. He did his level best to reform tax policy in Alabama, cover the deficit, make life easier for middle and lower-class residents and improve education. But that apaprently didn't matter to the voters as his proposal was overwhelmingly defeated. With a flat income tax of only 3% with a tax-free amount of only $4,600 and a nominal property tax, the current tax structure overwhelmingly favors the large landowners and high income citizens. Riley proposed raising the income threshold to $20,000 over four years and increasing top income and property taxes rates. So it was no surprise that the wealthy elements came agaist it, since their predecessors created the current tax policy. What was incomprehensible was that the low-income voters also turned against it, even thought it benefited them. A pastor in Montgomery "I don't think raising taxes will help us be accountable. People are tired of paying taxes." Which is all well and good. I happen to agree with him. But he would've been paying less! I agree that taxes should be lower. But you have to have a fair system in place before you lower the rates, otherwise you just preserve the inequity in the system. So now Alabama will continue to have the worst education system in the nation and will have to cut government services well below dangerous levels. But at least the landowners and elite rich will have their low taxes.

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