In my perfect world, the government takes as little of your money as possible and the free market decides where it gets spent. Of course, the free market also does a good job of self-policing so the government doesn’t have to step in and get involved. Absent my perfect world, I generally believe tax cuts are a good idea. Not just for the rich or the poor, but for everyone. Taking less of everyone’s money tends to be something I can get behind.
Where I am slightly confused is a spat that has shown up on the radar screen here in Indianapolis regarding income tax credits for education based not-for-profits. Mayor Greg Ballard has offered up the tax credits to not-for-profit organizations that are in the education innovation business as a way to turn the city into a national “education incubator”. The tax credits are used for the organization’s employees and returned to the not-for-profit. It’s part of the Mayor’s proposal to address the long-term educational needs of the city.
My Democratic friends are throwing cold water on the idea. Democratic Mayoral challenger Melina Kennedy said the proposal might be illegal. My good friend and blogger Jon Easter said the tax credit would take money from city coffers. The criticism is all fair game in politics, however, I had to ask my friends that if the Mayor’s plan is bad because it may be against the law or take money from the city, then what about City Council Proposal 242?
Proposal 242 would provide a tax rebate to downtown hotel workers that make between $10,000 and $25,000 a year. The measure would rebate the worker’s portion of the county option income tax to the tune of up $200 for a worker making $25,000. I don’t recall Kennedy saying the plan might be illegal, although I would argue it screws the people outside that income range. And I must have missed it when Jon wrote about how much money the city would lose on that deal.
Now this the point where some of you say, “Abdul, didn’t you call that proposal election year pandering?” Yes, I sure did. Because it is. It would have been one thing if proponents called for a rebate for all workers in the hospitality industry, regardless of income, whether they were hotel managers or janitors, but they didn’t because the last thing you need when engaging in class warfare is for everyone to be treated exactly the same.
As I said, I tend to favor taking less of people’s money, regardless of how much they earn. However, if you’re going to push for tax cuts for one group, it would be nice if you did for everyone. After all, it’s their money, not the government’s, right?