Republicans, from Ron DeSantis to Rick Scott, have become the party of tax hikes: journalist
For generations, Republicans have slammed Democrats as “tax-and-spend liberals” who promote big government at every turn — often claiming that tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires are necessary because the ultra-wealthy are “job creators.” But such arguments recently went out the window when far-right Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, determined to get back at Disney for openly opposing the homophobic “Don’t Say Gay” bill, ended the company’s special tax/business arrangement in the state — a move that is likely to cost Florida taxpayers a fortune.
Washington Post opinion writer Catherine Rampell, in her April 26 column, cites DeSantis’ war on Disney as only one example of Republicans causing taxes to rise in 2022.
According to Rampell, 2022’s Republicans —from DeSantis to Sen. Rick Scott of Florida — are happy to raise taxes if that’s what it takes to expediate their culture-war battles.
DeSantis, she notes, decided to “exact retribution” against Disney when he “called on Florida legislators to dissolve Disney’s special self-governance district, called the Reedy Creek Improvement District.”
“This nearly 55-year-old arrangement has allowed Disney to build more or less as it saw fit, so long as it did so in accordance with state and federal laws,” Rampell explains. “The company also paid for road maintenance, water treatment, fire and rescue, and other public services throughout the nearly 40-square-mile area…. The GOP action has another, unintended consequence: It will dump a huge new financial burden on Orange and Osceola Counties, where the special district is situated.”
Rampell continues, “These counties are expected to inherit Reedy Creek’s debt obligations and will have to cover the cost of the $163 million the company has been paying annually to fund those public services. Orange County’s tax collector has said he expects property taxes would need to rise 20 to 25% to foot the bill. In other words: DeSantis has decided to raise taxes on regular Floridians in order to duke it out with Mickey Mouse.”
\u201cI don\u2019t see how Orange County doesn\u2019t raise property taxes by 20% to 25%,\u201d says Orange County tax collector. \u201cThat\u2019s what [the county] would probably have to do to cover this financial situation.\u201dhttps://www.wftv.com/news/local/end-reedy-creek-disney-wont-pay-more-taxes-you-will/3TK6ASNJT5EXHICW3DQ3ZHEZYA/\u00a0\u2026— Catherine Rampell (@Catherine Rampell) 1650890751
Amazing. \nGov. Greg Abbott's "enhanced" truck inspections turned up zero drugs or migrants, but cost Texas consumers and businesses an estimated $4.2 billion.\nDelays resulted in $240 million in spoiled produce alone.https://www.lmtonline.com/politics/article/Border-inspections-law-Abbott-policy-migrants-cost-17119380.php\u00a0\u2026— Catherine Rampell (@Catherine Rampell) 1650726134
Republicans who are “cheering on” DeSantis, Rampell notes, have committed “a betrayal of their long-standing message to voters: low taxes über alles.”
“Other Republican politicians are also willing to endorse higher taxes when it suits their political narrative, even when those higher taxes might befall their own base,” Rampell observes. “Consider the plans proposed by another Floridian, Sen. Rick Scott (R), head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and DeSantis’ predecessor as governor. Scott has said that the federal government should require every American to pay at least some minimum amount of federal income taxes. Given that roughly half of Americans pay no federal income taxes, that would require raising taxes on roughly half of all Americans.”
If Scott’s proposed tax hike became a reality, Rampell notes, it “would raise taxes not only on low- and moderate-income workers, but also, on millions of retirees” because “more than half of those 65 and older currently pay no federal income tax, the Tax Policy Center estimates.”
“GOP politicians have lately seemed to care little about inflicting economic pain upon their own voters, if doing so can meet some other culture-war objective,” Rampell emphasizes. “Consider how, over in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) deliberately snarled commercial traffic at the border this month, allegedly to root out immigrants crossing the border illegally. His ‘enhanced’ truck inspections didn’t catch a single unauthorized migrant, or an ounce of drugs. The slowdowns did, however, cost his state’s consumers and businesses roughly $4.2 billion, according to an estimate from a Texas-based economic analysis group, including through spoiled produce.”
Rampell adds, “Between high inflation and rising recession risks, the U.S. economy faces serious challenges. This should afford Republicans ample opportunity to offer voters some sort of pro-growth economic agenda. It’s telling that, instead, GOP presidential hopefuls are focusing their firepower on Mickey Mouse and Mexican fruit.”
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