The Duct Tape Budget, Part II
Reader Bert takes me to the woodshed. Here are the nut grafs of his email:
Ok, I’m a liberal. I’ll admit that and yet still try to ask a fair and polite comment about your posting on this.
I was disappointed that you seemed to be heading toward making a reasoned argument that both the business community and Patrick had valid arguments on this issue, but then you veered off. Why waste your time on the extreme element of BlueMassGroup or an individual corporate wingnut who says $0 tax is too high? Why not stick to the merits of the debate between the two sides? At the very least compare the demonization of corporations to the demonization of taxes.
Hub Blog's long response -- Sorry for going off on a tangent. I plead guilty. I was taken aback by the Greek chorus rhetoric
that actually accused corporate types of tolerating the suffering of others in order to make a buck. It was a vicious way to frame a debate -- a mere step or two away from the old 'people will die' argument over budgets. ...
Anyway, as for the substance of the two non-extreme
arguments, I'm not one of those who thinks '$0 is too high' for corporations. They should pay taxes to help fund the upkeep of their (and our) roads and bridges, as well as education of their (and our) future work force, etc., etc., etc. I also think corporations tend to whine and exaggerate their plight, just as every interest group does in Massachusetts. But that doesn't mean they're wrong all the time. They're absolutely right to say $500 million in new taxes is a big chunk of change in a state known for its high cost of both doing business and simply living. The rankings showing Massachusetts with low corporate taxes are true -- but such rankings don't and can't paint a full picture about the true costs here. The price of land, housing, utilities and, thus, wages etc. are all high and factored into corporate decisions. The totality of costs is the main reason why, for instance, Fidelity is moving jobs elsewhere. Does anyone really believe Fidelity when it says it's expanding elsewhere because it wants to be near its customers? The totality of costs is also a crucial reason why so many young people, many of them talented workers, are moving elsewhere. No corporate-tax ranking can capture these cost features. That's why the whole 'tax fairness' issue is just, well, a spin. Deval very admirably stated before the election that he planned to close three corporate loopholes
valued at $85 million. It's right there in cyber print. But now he's proposing to close seven 'loopholes' valued at $500 million. Why did he do this? Because he needed cash fast and corporations don't vote. Does anyone really believe otherwise? If it's truly just about 'tax fairness' and helping disabled children's parents, then it should be a moralistic no-brainer to go after those low-hanging dollars that would come by merely bumping Massachusetts up in the corporate-tax rankings. But Deval, a very smart man, knows full well it's not that simple. ...Update
-- I was just told the Greek chorus
reference to disabled children, linked above and below, was a joke, not to be taken seriously. So be it. Stand by everything else I just wrote. ...