Wednesday, January 18, 2006
On this day:

Tax cuts for me, but not for thee

The usual suspects are criticizing Gov. Riley's plan to cut taxes because it would apply to all taxpayers, regardless of income. Never mind the fact that the Governor's plan would disproportionately benefit lower-income families. Never mind that it would institute a reform that "progressives" have been advocating for years. The mere fact that middle- and upper-income taxpayers would get to keep any more of their earnings is intolerable. From to the B'ham News:

Alabama has the lowest state income tax threshold in America, taxing a family of four that makes just $4,600 annually. Riley wants to gradually raise that threshold to $15,000 while also increasing deductions for all income levels. Riley and his supporters argue it's a matter of fairness and the right thing to do during a flush budget year.

But some lawmakers, lobbyists and advocates for the poor are concerned because middle-and higher-income families would get the same the tax cuts as poorer families, and that's money that otherwise would have gone to public schools.

"I think this was hurriedly put together as a way to give money away in an election year," said Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association and frequent critic of Riley's. ...

Hubbert, who is opposed to reductions in education funding growth, said he'd like a ceiling put on tax cuts for higher-income families. But he thought lawmakers would eventually approve something.

"It's an election year," Hubbert said.

Fortunately, Gov. Riley isn't backing down.

Riley Communications Director Jeff Emerson said the governor believes it's morally wrong for Alabama to charge poor families an income tax, but he also wants every family to get a break.

"As Gov. Riley said in his State of the State address, he wants every Alabamian that pays income taxes to get a tax cut," Emerson said. "This isn't Paul Hubbert's money or the Education Trust Fund's money. This is the taxpayers' money."