What do you do when you have so much money you don’t really know what to do with it?
Well, if you’re Democrats in the New Mexico House of Representatives grappling with two years of billion-dollar SURPLUSES, you muscle through what some are calling the largest tax increase in state history – raising taxes on everything from auto purchases to personal income and raising an additional $350-million-plus in new revenue in the process. And then you cloak it in the ghost of positive, though failed, legislation past and call it “tax reform.”
First, let’s dispense with the notion this is tax reform – the kind sponsored regularly by Rep. Jason Harper, R-Rio Rancho, which would close hundreds of loopholes and lower the regressive gross receipts tax on goods and services. Because the majority of our lawmakers couldn’t muster up the appetite for that then or now. And while House Bill 6 does close a couple of important loopholes – primarily leveling the playing field for online retailers with brick-and-mortar businesses and nonprofit hospitals with their for-profit and government brethren – to pretend it’s tax reform would be an exceptional piece of political marketing.
Because the biggest thing it’s fixing is government’s insatiable need for more of your money.