by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Before the enactment of the 16th Amendment, which permitted Washington to impose an income tax, states were in the vanguard of putting taxes on income. Today they are doing just the opposite. Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas has been unrelenting in pushing for lower income tax levies. When certain members of his own party balked, he supported their challengers in the primaries. Brownback triumphed and is now putting Kansas on the path to eliminating this exaction altogether. Governor Dave Heineman of Nebraska wants to do the same thing, as does Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. Other governors are pushing to reduce rates sharply, including Governors Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma and John Kasich of Ohio.
And look at what’s happening in Massachusetts: Governor Deval Patrick, taking cues from his close friend Barack Obama, proposed raising Massachusetts’ 5.25% income tax to 6.25%, as well as boosting other levies. Despite virtually no Republican representation in the state legislature–Democrats have 36 of 40 seats in the Senate and 129 of 160 in the House–Patrick’s scheme looks to be crashing and burning. White House fantasies to the contrary, most people are in no mood to pay more to Big Government.
States with taxaholic governors, such as Illinois, California, Maryland and Connecticut, are being hit hard. Jerry Brown claims his massive retroactive tax increase on upper-income Californians is balancing his budget. Not for long. Businesses and individuals are fleeing the once Golden State.