Think global, act local: DC Taxation edition
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The Post is up in arms about the tax increase, according to this editorial, "D.C.’s irresponsible income tax hike," which states that "City residents shouldn’t be penalized because their government lacks fiscal discipline."
I find the issue interesting for a couple reasons:
• DC Fiscal Policy Institute has been making the argument for a couple years that rather than cut programs that disproportionately serve the poor, why not add an additional element of progressivity to the income tax.
• we are having the same argument at the national level (e.g., "Obama’s debt-reduction plan: $3 trillion in savings, half from new tax revenue," "The Plum Line: Yup, moderates and independents support taxing the rich and "Old debate on taxes in new landscape" from the Post)
• nationally, the Republicans are making this out to be class warfare, even though the impact is comparatively minimal (I don't make tons of money...);
• and arguments about progressivity in tax rates are partly about how those who benefit from a functioning government and country (and let me tell you, the rich do benefit) and can afford to pay more ought to;
Interestingly, with regard to the DC issue, the proponents of the tax increase could have argued better for it, making the case for progressivity in the tax rate and comparing DC's tax burden to the surrounding jurisdictions (generally we pay less in taxes than Marylanders, and more than Virginian's, even though housing values tend to be higher in DC).
The president criticized Republicans for insisting no taxes can be raised, and said it would not be possible to improve the nation’s fiscal standing without new taxes on the wealthy.
He rejected criticism that his proposals amount to class warfare, saying that after a decade of unchecked spending, every American has to pitch in and pay their fair share. Otherwise, Obama said, the U.S. will try to cut programs for the middle-class and the poor while protecting tax cuts for the wealthy.
“This is not class warfare,” Obama said. “It's math.”
At the same time, the City Government should make a commitment to better administration and quality of municipal services. That's what the Post is carping about and I tend to agree with them.
DC ought to be a world class city, truly, and in too many ways, we are mediocre, merely defining "world class" down to whatever level we manage to function at for the various services and agencies.
That's something that the DCFPI never seems to bring up...