Lamenting Taxes While Endorsing Taxers
The Providence Journal editorial board is right, of course, to speak out against Governor Chafee’s proposed expansion of sales taxes:
This is not a matter of greed; for many businesses, it is a question of survival. Small businesses are the job engines of any economy, and when they are wiped out, jobs disappear. Rhode Island’s years of suffering one of America’s worst unemployment rates should have taught that lesson. …
Taxing manufacturing machinery and equipment, which Mr. Chafee wants to do, seems especially shortsighted — which is why 33 states, including Rhode Island, currently do not do it, Mr. Sasse notes. Encouraging productivity and innovation ultimately pays off in more jobs and higher tax revenues.
I convey the thought only half seriously, but I did wonder whether the Projo should make a habit of mentioning — disclosing, if you will — that its product will face a new tax, as well.
More broadly, the editorial is an excellent example of the paper’s tendency to treat issues as if they can be constructed to generate the perfect political regime (from the writers’ perspective). That is, the Providence Journal is an establishment entity, in Rhode Island, and its endorsements and policy advocacy have helped to bring Rhode Island to its current circumstances.
Hopefully those who are coming to see the folly of the Chafee Way will follow the logic back to other aspects of RI governance and politics that preceded his election.