By Dan Spalding
Want to really tick off Republicans? Tell them they can’t cut taxes.
That appears to be the case in President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.
Soon after its passage, Indiana Sen. Mike Braun and others quickly noticed language in the massive spending bill that would apparently prohibit states that want to tap into the $195 billion in federal assistance from cutting taxes. More than 20 state attorneys general also voiced concern over the issue.
The ban would prohibit states from cutting taxes until 2024 if they take any federal funds from the package.
The Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy research organization, called such a move “an astonishing level of federal interference in states’ fiscal affairs” and said the issue merits concern for state policymakers.
Braun recently introduced the Let States Cut Taxes Act, a bill “to make sure Democrats don’t get away with this scheme” to stop states from further opening their economies and allowing Americans to keep more of what they earn through tax cuts.
“Democrats are trying to ban states from cutting taxes with a sneaky amendment to the $1.9 trillion so-called COVID relief package,” said Braun in a prepared statement. “Not only did this blue state bailout bill penalize states for reopening by calculating state funds based on unemployment, now they are trying to use it as a back door to ban states from cutting taxes. My bill would make sure they don’t get away with it.”
The Wall Street Journal editorial department weighed in on the issue in an editorial titled “Braun For The States.”
“This is a great issue for Republicans. Washington imperialism won’t go over well in many states, and GOP Governors and Senators ought to make voters aware that the Biden-Pelosi Democrats want to run their states too,” the editorial said.
But on Wednesday, The Associated Press reported that a U.S. Treasury spokesperson said that the provision isn’t meant as a blanket prohibition on tax cuts. States can still offset tax reductions through other means. “In other words, states are free to make policy decisions to cut taxes – they just cannot use the pandemic relief funds to pay for those tax cuts,” the Treasury Department said.
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REDISTRICTING – A grassroots commission is gathering public input on how Hoosier lawmakers draw legislative districts ahead of 2021 redistricting.
The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission intends on holding public hearings in all nine Indiana congressional districts this spring, according to a report on WFYI.org.
Because of delays in the finalization of the U.S. Census report, the General Assembly will need to come back in a fall special session to redraw lines, the radio station reported.
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VACCINATED – You’ll be happy to know I received the first of two doses of the Moderna vaccine this week. On Tuesday, I made an appointment for 9 a.m. Wednesday at Kroger. It was efficient, easy and I picked up a batch of cookies before heading to work.
To say I’m impressed would be an understatement. The Trump and Biden administrations deserve credit for the vaccine rollout. Warp Speed lived up to its name and it would appear we are moving faster than expected on our way to seeing a majority of Americans protected against the virus.
Unlike some segments of the population, I have no hesitancy in being part of this effort. But then, my ancestors weren’t mistreated and used as guinea pigs by the government for past medical testing. I can understand their hesitancy in those cases.
Being an older white guy, I think this is the best example of white privilege I can imagine.
But I also believe supporting the nation’s recovery from this pandemic feels patriotic and I hope that a strong and successful effort this year will lead some anti-vaxers to reconsider their concerns.
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.