Governors Shumlin and Brownback: separated at birth?

It’s a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it.  Someone’s got to beef up revenues when the Governor won’t ask the wealthy to contribute more.  

That someone is usually the poor who can be depended upon to buy their guilty pleasures retail and fork over the “sin tax’ that the rich are so good at avoiding.

Am I talking about the Shumlin administration’s forays into sin-tax “social services,” like the proposed soda levy?  

No, in this case, the Governor in question is Republican Sam Brownback of Kansas who made a hash of the state’s finances with massive tax cuts, and now seeks to remedy the problem; not with the obvious strategy of reversing the tax breaks that bought him support from his wealthiest constituents.

Instead, he proposes to exorbitantly tax the very things that poorer folks often depend upon for comfort, thanks to the combined efforts of the tobacco industry to foster addiction, and life on the margins, which has been known to drive the desperate to drink.

Apparently “tax” is only a dirty word when it threatens the growing nest egg of the privileged class.

The  Kansas Governor’s quick fix is meeting with resistance in the Legislature, even from the occasional Republican:

“He’s proposed some revenue enhancements that I think the Legislature will have a great difficulty passing,” said Senator Susan Wagle, the chamber’s Republican president. “That’s [a] tax increase.


But that’s not the only way Brownback proposes to punish the working class of Kansas for his own folly:

Rather than retreat from the massive tax cuts that are crippling his state’s finances, Gov. Sam Brownback (R) wants to cut classroom funding for Kansas schools by $127 million and push pension fund payments off into the future.

That’s pretty uncomfortable company for Governor Shumlin, when we can draw a parallel in his policies to a Republican governor who is even too regressive for his own caucus!

About Sue Prent

Artist/Writer/Activist living in St. Albans, Vermont with my husband since 1983. I was born in Chicago; moved to Montreal in 1969; lived there and in Berlin, W. Germany until we finally settled in St. Albans.

8 thoughts on “Governors Shumlin and Brownback: separated at birth?

  1. In Vermont’s case, it’s not so much Shumlin on the 1% an ounce soda/sweet drink tax, it’s this group called Vermont Health Care Advocacy, headed by a total YUPPIE PIG, Peter Sterling.  The YUPPIE NAZI PIGS in Vermont believe poor people should pay for the likes of Sterling’s health care along with their own.

    This is an EVIL CLASSIST bill sposored by PIGS to be voted on by WOLVES to fleece the SHEEP.

    This is not about health or obesity.  It is about an attack on the poor and working poor.  The Vermont Low Income Advocacy Council should be ashamed of itself for supporting such YUPPIE PIGGERY.  OINK! OINK!  People like Peter Sterling who get YUPPIE WAGES heading up YUPPIE AGENCIES, and then use their insider YUPPIE NAZI NETWORK to attack and exploit the poor should be skinned alive.  There should be a bill in the legislature to allow for criminal and civil charges to be brought against people like Sterling and his ilk.

    Despicable and disgusting.  Enough to make people truly ill.  

  2. I think this is a legitimate discussion to have, but I find the governor’s proposal encouraging in a couple of ways.

    First, for years people have been calling on him to propose tax increases, and now he’s finally doing it. It’s been clear for a long time that we’ve needed to increase taxes, so he’s moved in the right direction.

    Second, the more income you have the more likely you are to itemize deductions. Consequently, raising taxes on people who itemize is roughly, although not perfectly, progressive.

    Third, the sugar sweetened beverage tax is not his baby, and it is supported by VLIAC, a group that actually includes and represents low-income Vermonters.

    Nobody said that this is the final package, but I can tell you that it’s a lot better to be saying “Let’s tweak your tax plan to make it more progressive,” than to have to fight against, “I’m not raising taxes, period”. There’s work to be done, but we’re starting from a better place.

  3. coming from the writer of the linked story:

    – added emphasis

    The second is intended to actually improve state finances through increased revenue, by way of what some call “sin taxes” – the tax on a pack of cigarettes will nearly triple from 79 cents to $2.29, while liquor taxes will jump from 8% to 12%.

    Fools-errand weasel-worded summary of author more pure folly gold:

    The fact that Brownback is changing direction at all seems like a minor miracle, and anything that helps address Kansas’ self-imposed disaster is probably a step in the right direction

    Minor Miracle??? Actually, its the status-quo for these 1% club members who live to enrich themselves while serving their friends – the other 1% mini robber-barons – Shummy’s specialty.  

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