As states across the nation face varying degrees of economic crisis, some Republican governors find themselves in an uncomfortable position — proposing to increase taxes to reduce budget shortfalls.
During his State of the State address, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
pledged to "continue our march to zero income taxes," and to reduce government spending.
What became clear a day later, when the state's budget was released, was that part of Brownback's path toward trying to erase an estimated $648 million shortfall was a plan to hike the taxes on a pack of cigarettes from 79 cents to $2.29 per pack, as well as boosting by 4 percent the tax on liquor, reports The Wichita Eagle
In Nevada, Gov. Brian Sandoval's budget would go against two core Republican principles with a proposed $1.1 billion tax increase and an expansion of state-funded education programs, according to The Nevada Commercial Appeal
"Republicans shouldn’t be in the business of complicating the tax code in order to placate teachers unions. This is especially true in the aftermath of a crushing defeat of the Education Initiative and in light of Republicans being swept into power for the first time in over 80 years," Bill Blair of Americans for Tax Reform
(ATR) said in a blog post about Sandoval's plan.
While strong reactions to proposals to raise taxes from conservatives is expected, some governors contend that they have real-world fiscal challenges and that tax increases are simply a part of good governance.
"It’s not based on partisanship; it’s based on common sense and good government. We’ve been underinvesting in Michigan for some time, so I view it as a way to, long term, save us resources," GOP Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan tells The New York Times.
Snyder has proposed raising the state's sales tax and the gas tax as a way to pay for increased spending on roads, reports The Detroit News
The governor's office even has released a five minute video detailing the need to spend more on transportation and road construction.
In addition to Brownback, Sandoval and Snyder, three other Republican governors have included some nature of tax increases in their 2015 budgets, reports The Atlanta Journal Constitution
But their proposals face a rough road ahead in their respective state legislatures.
"You can’t just look at governors these days. You’ve got to look at the legislatures. The legislature in North Carolina is much more pro-growth and anti-tax than the governor," Grover Norquist, who leads Americans for Tax Reform, tells The New York Times.
Utah's GOP-controlled legislature is currently divide on plans to raise the state gas tax, already at 24.5 cents, reports The Deseret News
Other governors, however, have remained committed to lowering taxes and strongly argue raising taxes is a "prescription for economic slow-down" and hurts the economy.
"In our state, what we tried to do is we've tried to reduce — we haven't tried, we have, we have had the largest tax cut in America over the last four years. We lower the top rate, but we also provide tax relief for those at the bottom to encourage more work.
"But the idea that raising the capital gains tax is going to somehow help your economy it is just — isn't going to work," said Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Fox News Sunday.
Watch the video below.
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