So on the heels of a tax cut for the wealthy that insults every middle and working class person in the state of Missouri, the state legislature has the chutzpah to put a sales tax increase on the fall ballot in order to pay for transportation infrastructure. This tax, in common with sales taxes in general, falls most heavily on those who can least afford it. Rich folks who have the means to subsidize politicians and businesses that depend on our transportation infrastructure to thrive will once again benefit from the poor man’s mite.
And our Democatic Senator, the wealthy Claire McCaskill, is all for taxing the little guy while the fat cats get off. She thinks the sales tax is overdue, should have been enacted last year, although she realizes that, coming as it does on the heels of the rich man’s tax cut, the optics aren’t too great:
“Is it my first choice on how to fund transportation? Probably not. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not willing to support it. I will support it. Because we’ve got to get some additional revenue for our roads in Missouri,” McCaskill said. “They want to talk about what makes Missouri an attractive business climate, well funding higher education and having good roads and bridges are way more important than Rex Sinquefield’s plan to do away with everyone’s taxes entirely and make us all into Kansas.”
I admit it. McCaskill’s absolutely right about the need for revenue. But since I’ve been in Missouri I’ve seen one serious need after another addressed by proposals to increase the sales taxes that hit the poor man disproportionately – while the top tax rate in the state remained obscenely low. Now it’s even lower. If Missourians take McCaskill’s lead next November, we’ll continue to be stuck with ever more unfair sales taxes every time a new need is identified – desperate need, that is, since the GOP-dominated legislature is more than content to let the social and physical infrastructure of the state slide until the conditions are so dire action is unavoidable. Every time Democrats go along with a sales tax when serious, progressive tax reform is what is called for, we are helping to put finis to the vision of a state that is just and where prosperity is shared by all.
The Missourians who vote for these GOP bozos need to learn what happens when their elected representatives chose to favor wealthy political donors over the working people of the state. The lawmakers that enacted the mindnumbingly stupid tax cut need to be held accountable for their shortsided, ideologically driven behavior. That will only happen if we don’t bail them out by putting the burden on those least able to carry it. Sure, it’ll hurt for a while, but it’s the only way we’ll change the direction of our state.
No on the sales tax may even benefit the state’s economy since those at the bottom end of the economic spectrum tend to spend the money that they manage to keep in their pockets, stimulating growth. Rich folks, on the other hand, tend to sit on their excess moolah.
A headline in yesterday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch says it all. Describing the recent Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, the headline proclaimed that “Democrats defend party principles at dinner here.” That’s right, not “assert” party principles, but, like sniveling losers, they attempt to “defend” themselves from the bullies who are picking on us all and who, if things continue as they are, will probably get away with it. Claire McCaskill is willing to concede defeat, leaving us worse off in order to deal with only one of the many problems the state faces – a serious problem, but if we endorse her postion, we’re shutting the door to a real solution in the future, a solution that is fair for all. We’re also telling the big baddies in the legislature that there’ll be no price to pay for taking us in the wrong direction. Vote no on the sales tax for the sake of Missouri’s future.