A Slash with a Fake Sword
I think it’s pretty clear, from Ed Fitzpatrick’s Tuesday column that the Deepwater deal has put Republican general treasurer candidate Kerry King in an awkward position, but a tangential parenthetical from Fitzpatrick offers unfortunate indication that the tax-change scheme has succeeded in accomplishing one thing while saying another:
King, a retired life-insurance executive, began an Aug. 6 news release by saying, “I am not a fan of the government loaning money to businesses for any reason. We have banks to do that.” But, he said, we wouldn’t need to guarantee loans if we elected “pro-business candidates” who did things like lower taxes. (He didn’t mention that state leaders just slashed the top personal income tax rate from 9.9 percent to 5.99 percent.)
What Fitzpatrick doesn’t mention is that the 9.9% rate was a paper-only kind of a thing, in light of the now-evaporated flat tax (on top, recall, of the elimination of the favorable capital gains tax reform). What the General Assembly did, essentially, was to freeze the flat tax at its previous rate (although it was scheduled to drop to 5.5%) and effectively increase taxes on upper-working and middle class Rhode Islanders.
It’s very disheartening to see such a maneuver succeed so spectacularly within the mainstream media common knowledge.