So poor beleaguered state Rep. Warwick Sabin of Little Rock got pounded down this morning on his bill to provide tax relief to the working poor in the wholly viable and bipartisan fashion of an earned income tax credit, embraced nationally by Presidents named Reagan and Clinton.
Sabin argued for the bill by saying this session would be judged on how it acted on his bill, which would define whether, all things considered, it was fair to everyone in its determination to reduce taxes.
The defeat of his bill in the House Revenue and Taxation Committee invites me to ponder thus the overall fairness.
1. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, admirably, I think, chose to grant tax relief first and only to the middle class, those making from $20,000 to $75,000. You have to hand it to any Republican who pushes through a tax cut that does not extend at all, much less inordinately, to the rich people.
2. In order to pay for his cut, Hutchinson first proposed reducing a capital gains cut passed two years ago. That was positively Obama-esque, and, naturally, it would not stand. The Legislature is now in the process of restoring the capital gains cut, meaning that the rich people realizing capital gains will be either held harmless or given a break, depending on how you choose to apply timing.
3. Poor folks get diddly now that Sabin’s bill to increase the tax credit they could qualify for by working went down to defeat.
Fair? It is if you think poor people are themselves to blame for being poor and are getting enough from us already and ought to stand alone in this state as persons worthy of no tax break from this legislative session.
If you have certain instincts for justice and humanity, then you know that what this session is doing, taken in full context, is of breathtaking proportion in unfairness.
An earned income tax credit is not a handout. It is a credit low-income people get toward their tax bill by venturing out to earn a meager paycheck with hard work.
A few Republicans on the committee objected to the fact that the earned income tax credit would be refundable. That means it can amount to cash if the earned credit exceeds the tax bill.
Getting more back from the rest of us than they even owe — what the hell is that?
It’s simple: These people are poor. If they work enough for a penance to get a credit exceeding their tax due, then they can use the overage for help with regressive taxes they pay just for the opportunity to get out and do hard work for pauper’s pay — the gasoline tax, the sales tax, both most burdensome on the little people.
So a guy will get no tax on a capital gain exceeding $10 million, but these poor working folks can’t earn a meager refundable credit by paying regressive taxes to get to a job paying an unlivable wage.
If history doesn’t judge that harshly, then history lies.