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250 clergymen can be wrong

In the latest effort to make Jindal feel really bad about his tax swap proposal, 250 clergymen sent a letter to his office.

A handful of ministers delivered the letter to the governor’s office at the State Capitol Monday morning.

Jindal wants to eliminate the state’s personal income and corporate taxes in favor of increasing the state sales tax by 47 percent and taxing services such as hair cuts, cable television and other expenses.

The proposal will be debated in the legislative session that starts next month.

Jindal’s press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the ministers’ concerns.

The ministers represent an array of faiths, including Baptist, Episcopal and Methodist.

Bishop Gregory Cooper said he feels comfortable reaching out to the governor because Jindal told legislators his proposal is not etched in stone.

Once again, this idea of the poor and middle class taking on the burden of the taxes in the new proposal is tossed out with no supporting evidence, other than rhetoric and some scary words,  like “regressive” and “47% tax increase.” But without actually explaining with facts, the entire argument can collapse. The letter itself can be tossed out at the clergy’s first argument:

First, we are concerned that Louisiana already has one of the most regressive tax systems in the nation, putting a disproportionately high burden on low and moderate income families. Currently, families earning minimum wage (less than $16,000 per year) pay 10.6% of their income in state and local taxes; the average Louisiana family pays 10.1% of its income in taxes; while the wealthiest Louisiana families (earning over $1 million per year) pay only 4.6% of their income in state and local taxes. That is unacceptable, as a starting point.

Let’s stop right here and think for a moment. Jindal’s plan is to get rid of income-based taxation, so are the clergymen arguing for or against the plan? It doesn’t make sense to open up your arguments against a proposal to get rid of the state’s income tax by pointing out the disparity between what the poor pay and what the rich pay, does it? If you read the paragraph, if looks like the exact argument you should make IN FAVOR of Jindal’s plan. Want the taxing of Louisiana citizens to be fair? Everyone pays the same rate in a form of taxes that doesn’t allow for breaks and exemptions. Stupendous.

Jindal’s plan is centered mostly around one thing: raising the sales tax by less than two cents per every dollar you spend. It widens what sales tax applies to and boosts cigarette tax by more than a dollar, but the bulk of the proposal currently focuses on that first part. Are you going to tell me that two more cents per dollar is going to break the bank? If that’s the case, rethink your personal budget.

 

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See this post and others of mine here. Follow me on Twitter: @joec_esquire

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