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Sales tax comin'

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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:32 am

Crockett wrote:The most appropriate use of taxes is to reduce consumption of things with negative externalities


How are we going to tax unhealthy and overweight people? Because the exorbitant amount of money spent on healthcare from childhood right up to end-of-life skilled nursing care, for this growing demographic, certainly, negatively, affects these costs for me.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby gargantua » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:47 am

The one positive thing about raising the sales tax to replace the income tax is the elimination of the need to file a state tax return every year. That'd be sweet. An additional concern is that state taxes are deductible when you itemize your federal return. Sales taxes are a much more recent deduction, and I believe more vulnerable to elimination. I've never used it so I don't know if that deduction is even as valuable as the income tax deduction.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:49 am

narcoleptish wrote:
Crockett wrote:The most appropriate use of taxes is to reduce consumption of things with negative externalities


How are we going to tax unhealthy and overweight people? Because the exorbitant amount of money spent on healthcare from childhood right up to end-of-life skilled nursing care, for this growing demographic, certainly, negatively, affects these costs for me.

Would you prefer a flat tax per pound of body weight or some kind of progressive tax? Either way, we'd need a federally-monitored weigh in on April 15 of each year. I can see the month of March seeing a bump in gym memberships not unlike January after New Year's resolutions kick in.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby Crockett » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:04 pm

narcoleptish wrote:
Crockett wrote:The most appropriate use of taxes is to reduce consumption of things with negative externalities


How are we going to tax unhealthy and overweight people? Because the exorbitant amount of money spent on healthcare from childhood right up to end-of-life skilled nursing care, for this growing demographic, certainly, negatively, affects these costs for me.


That's part of the slippery slope of a single-payer system. There are definitely trade-offs.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby wack wack » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:15 pm

narcoleptish wrote:
Crockett wrote:The most appropriate use of taxes is to reduce consumption of things with negative externalities


How are we going to tax unhealthy and overweight people? Because the exorbitant amount of money spent on healthcare from childhood right up to end-of-life skilled nursing care, for this growing demographic, certainly, negatively, affects these costs for me.


Why do you want to tax fat people? The GOP, FOX News, the NRA, the pro-life movement and the anti-gay agenda all produce much greater "negative externalities" for this country than fat people do.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:20 pm

wack wack wrote:
narcoleptish wrote:
Crockett wrote:The most appropriate use of taxes is to reduce consumption of things with negative externalities


How are we going to tax unhealthy and overweight people? Because the exorbitant amount of money spent on healthcare from childhood right up to end-of-life skilled nursing care, for this growing demographic, certainly, negatively, affects these costs for me.


Why do you want to tax fat people? The GOP, FOX News, the NRA, the pro-life movement and the anti-gay agenda all produce much greater "negative externalities" for this country than fat people do.


So you want to tax people who disagree with you?
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby wack wack » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:27 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:So you want to tax people who disagree with you?


No, I think Crockett's statement about controlling behavior through taxation is ridiculous.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:40 pm

wack wack wrote:
Francis Di Domizio wrote:So you want to tax people who disagree with you?


No, I think Crockett's statement about controlling behavior through taxation is ridiculous.


Agreed.

I like the idea of higher sales taxes on luxury goods, but not as a way to curb people buying luxury goods.

A higher gas tax on the other hand seems too regressive. You don't see a lot of new high gas mileage cars in the inner city. On the other hand putting tolls on highways does seem like a more equitable solution.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby wack wack » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:01 pm

Francis Di Domizio wrote:A higher gas tax on the other hand seems too regressive. You don't see a lot of new high gas mileage cars in the inner city. On the other hand putting tolls on highways does seem like a more equitable solution.


I agree about the tax; I'm having a hard time understanding the equity in toll roads, though. Either you need to drive them or you don't, regardless of your station in life. It's much more burdensome on someone making $30k/yr vs. someone making $100k/yr. I think it's as regressive as any flat tax.

However, from personal experience: I work at home but still put 18-20k miles on my car annually. I drive for pleasure, usually ~300 miles per weekend. I'd be closer to paying "fair share" for use of Wisconsin roads through a gas tax then through a toll road, which I would never ever drive.

All said, eliminating income tax in favor of sales tax is a bad idea; a great example of GOP "negative externalities."
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby jjoyce » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:39 pm

Taxes should not be viewed as penalties and it seems to me that the people who complain the loudest about taxes (I'm looking at you, professional athletes) can most afford to pay them.

Earning through work ought to be incented, which is why conservatives say they don't like income taxes. But since they also complain about environmental taxes and gas taxes, it's clear that they're pretty much against all taxes. But they want more cops. And defense spending.

This sales tax hike is like a lot of other legislative ideas being thrown around Wisconsin right now in that it's only on the table because Republicans control everything and feel they can do whatever they want. That's a dangerous mindset, not only for those who aren't Republicans, but for those who are as well. They might just look back on this era and decide that they actually could have done some meaningful work instead of simply laying waste to every progressive idea ever.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby wack wack » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:42 pm

jjoyce wrote:Earning through work ought to be incented...


Hear hear!

I personally think this is the single biggest problem with taxes in America: taxation of earned vs. investment income is completely upside down.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby jman111 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 1:53 pm

jjoyce wrote:Taxes should not be viewed as penalties...

I'm genuinely curious about this. If taxes should not be viewed as penalties (or, as Crockett characterized, utilized to "reduce consumption of things withnegative externalities"), why do you propose tax breaks as incentives for "favorable" activities?

(You have repeatedly proposed tax breaks to aid the local music scene.)
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby snoqueen » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:08 pm

It's easy to say taxing things to deter certain behaviors is bad, but when taxes on cigarettes went way up usage went down. That's a good thing, isn't it? I know we have lots of smokers here and it didn't deter them, but maybe it helps younger people not start.

I don't have much of a problem with toll roads -- there are always alternate routes, and using the fast highway could be construed as a luxury same as driving a great big car. I believe reducing unnecessary driving and unnecessarily gas-intensive driving are reasonable social goals given our energy and climate issues.

Taxing car usage, gas usage, etc: do you want only to tax private passenger vehicles, or all vehicles? If you tax trucks more (and they're taxed now, but also produce lots of wear and tear on roads) you'll raise the cost of whatever it is they're transporting. Is this OK? There's no way to foresee all unintended consequences of a tax, but that one's fairly obvious.

In deciding what to tax, one bottom line would be not making life any harder for people at the very lowest income levels. Fixing things so we have more people without enough food, without medicine, or without a place to stay is not only inhumane but likely costs more, not less, in the long run as we try to cope with the resulting problems.

During the Thompson era, Tommy didn't raise taxes so much as he slapped user fees on lots of things. In a way that makes paying a little more palatable because people can always elect not to use whatever the fee is on, so they get some choices they would not get if we levied a flat sales tax on nearly everything.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby Francis Di Domizio » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:12 pm

wack wack wrote:
Francis Di Domizio wrote:A higher gas tax on the other hand seems too regressive. You don't see a lot of new high gas mileage cars in the inner city. On the other hand putting tolls on highways does seem like a more equitable solution.


I agree about the tax; I'm having a hard time understanding the equity in toll roads, though. Either you need to drive them or you don't, regardless of your station in life. It's much more burdensome on someone making $30k/yr vs. someone making $100k/yr. I think it's as regressive as any flat tax.

However, from personal experience: I work at home but still put 18-20k miles on my car annually. I drive for pleasure, usually ~300 miles per weekend. I'd be closer to paying "fair share" for use of Wisconsin roads through a gas tax then through a toll road, which I would never ever drive.

All said, eliminating income tax in favor of sales tax is a bad idea; a great example of GOP "negative externalities."


It depends on where you put the toll booths. I wouldn't put them inside any urban area (since the goal isn't to make city streets more congested), but outside of urban areas on high business traffic roads (94 between the ILL boarder and Milwaukee for example) might be a good spot. Add in a program like the IPASS but create discounts based on travel needs and income and it shouldn't be regressive at all.
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Re: Sales tax comin'

Postby snoqueen » Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:44 pm

We could put a zillion toll booths between Milwaukee and Madison if we'd built that passenger rail line.
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