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From Todd Dorman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Terry Branstad's "Holoistic App

8.2.2011 = Opinion - Cedar Rapids Gazette

C'mon, just say it, Governor

While I was away, Gov. Terry Branstad opted for a callous replay. The governor, for the second time this year, vetoed a bipartisan effort to increase the earned income tax credit. It's not surprising, but that doesn't make it any less galling.

Federal and state earned-income credits benefit low-income workers. For many, the break exceeds the income taxes they owe, so they get a refund. Basically, it's government recognizing that all sorts of taxes - sales taxes, property taxes, withholding taxes - take a painful bite out of a worker's small pay check, so the government throws them a bone. Thanks for working hard.

Branstad killed a measure raising the Iowa credit to 10 percent of the federal credit. It would have meant a tax break for tens of thousands of Iowans who could use one.

Somehow, in these times of Twilight Zone politics, the credit gets portrayed as a liberal welfare giveaway. Tell that to the guy working two jobs, or the single mom trying to afford gas and groceries. And explain how this 'liberal' credit got a bunch of Republican votes while Branstad's bid to cut corporate income taxes never saw the legislative light of day, even in the GOP House.

Branstad says he vetoed the credit because it's not part of 'comprehensive and holistic' tax reform. Trouble is, Branstad has never proposed comprehensive and holistic tax reform. He tried to give corporations a tax break and cut commercial property taxes.

Those don't add up to comprehensive reform.

Not even close. The governor is right that property taxes need reform. He had a historic opportunity to do real reform, meaning fundamental changes that modernize the antique system in a way that benefits all taxpayers. He had money in the bank to make it happen and shared legislative control that could have led to a bipartisan breakthrough.

Instead, Branstad did what Iowa politicians have always done. He tried to put more lipstick on the same old property tax pig. Give a break to one group of taxpayers, ignore the others and let local governments deal with the consequences.

And instead of using rising revenues to help grease the skids for real reform, he peddled a fairy tale fiscal crisis.

And who pays for that failure in leadership?

Low-income workers.

Seems fair.

What Branstad's veto message should have said is, 'Recipients of this credit aren't among the Iowans I consider important. None of you are corporate executives, nor are you building a nuclear power plant. So tough darts.'

Honesty, that's all I want.

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Locations : Iowa
People : Terry BranstadTodd Dorman

09/25/2011 5:19PM
From Todd Dorman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Terry Branstad's "Holoistic Approach."
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