Tax Changes as Blatant Gimmick
John Kostrzewa is much more positive about Rhode Island’s revamp of its income tax structure. I tend to see “revamp” in terms of a cosmetic makeover for a vampire. Kostrzewa apparently believes that’s better than nothing:
… the origins of the plan to simplify the tax code and send a message outside the state that Rhode Island is serious about changing its reputation as tax hell stretch back to summer 2008.
That’s when the Tax Policy Workgroup, the group of 21 accountants, lawyers, economists and other tax specialists appointed by Carcieri, began sweating out the details of a long-term strategic tax plan.
I’m sure many of the same points were made when the capital gains tax phase-out — now reversed — became law, or when the flat tax option was implemented. But as I’ve argued, this “revamp” appears to be little more than a means of stopping the flat tax in its tracks. But at least the cap-gains and flat tax efforts were an effort to introduce new cards, not to reshuffle the marked and sticky ones already on the table. When the governor’s workgroup began with the principle of being “revenue neutral” the inevitability of scheming was built into the process.