Thursday, February 11, 2016

The new Trimet 'tax' only taxes peoples wages and not capital gains profits

This was a comment on Bike Portland and its vitally important to understand how this tax is actually a tax on the poor. I can't believe this shit was actually proposed

J February 10, 2016 at 6:11 pm
There isn’t anyone at any of the organizations opposing this bill (I can confidently assume) that doesn’t want this kind of money – and much, much more – for transit expansion.

But this bill, as written and timed (ahead of the 2017 transportation package), is a transparent attempt by TriMet and LTD to protect the wealthiest residents in their district from contributing their fair share to a transit funding solution. It’s an attempt to reduce the impact that the growing political consensus around new transportation revenues might have on wealthy households.

But first, let’s back up and stop pretending that a regressive tax – and nobody can reasonably argue that this tax isn’t regressive – is fine and lovely when/if it is “used to fund services used mainly by low and moderate income families, like bus service.” The ends justify the means, right? No.The first thing (among many other things) wrong with this is how narrowly the benefits of bus service are being characterized to justify a regressive tax. Better transit benefits everyone! Everyone. In many, many, many ways that a few minutes on google can tell you all about. The thing about transit is, even if it’s only “used” by some, its public benefit is enormous and intersectional and shared by “non-users.” And don’t forget, the people we call users have to pay for transit twice – in taxes and at the farebox. Wealthy non-users should not be excused from paying their fair share… but I digress…

Anyway, the tip-off that this is a transparent attempt to reduce the impact of new transit taxes on wealthy residents is that TriMet and LTD already have authority for a proper income tax – not just this much narrower tax on wages. They just don’t want to use that authority. Because wealthy people don’t like income taxes. Thus, the wage tax compromise.

A wage tax is nearly the equivalent of an income tax on poor and working class households because most of their income comes from employee wages. But this is less and less true the further you move up the income scale, as more and more household income comes from non-wage sources. So the *effective tax rate* on wealthy households is actually lower than the effective tax rate on poor and working class householdssome of whom will then pay for transit a second time at the farebox

And the technical, political science term for that is: bullshit.
I’m thrilled to see groups like BTA, OPAL, and others think meaningfully and strategically about important revenue policies like this

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