Senator John Valentine joins a long line of progressive, statist politicians who would tax the necessities of life to ensure that the state has a stable source of income.
Even as state tax revenues are rising sharply, Valentine is proposing to reinstate the full state sales tax on food while reimbursing certain, low-income people for taxes paid on food.
Supporting Valentine’s proposal is Alison Rowland of the left leaning, Voices for Utah Children. Rowland takes the statist, utopian position that certain elites, such as Voices for Utah Children and its political allies have the right to determine what American citizens really need or as Rowland told the Salt Lake Tribune, “There is no reason for higher-income people to need that tax break on food.”
Thus, the elites determine what people need and what is excess individual income (property). Then elected officials take the excess and redistribute it to others. This is what French Political Economist Frederic Bastiat calls legal plunder.
Under his proposal, Valentine would force everyone to pay sales taxes on food regardless of their personal circumstances or personal choices. Therefore, if a person decides not to buy large amounts of consumer goods that are subject to sales taxes, in Valentine’s view that is bad for the state because the person is not paying sales tax on goods not purchased.
In order to offset the reduction in revenue to the state that comes from rational, personal decisions, Valentine would, for the greater good, charge those same persons sales tax on food since they have to eat and, therefore, cannot avoid the tax.
And rather than reallocating current funding from lower priority to higher priority areas, Valentine and other statist politicians will always find ways to sustain and expand the state by collecting more taxes while reducing the liberty of people to use their resources (property) as they see fit.
These statist politicians and their allies will do everything possible to hold the state harmless during times of economic downturn, even if that means taxing food. However, they also use the taxes on food collected during good economic times to further the expansion of the state thereby making it, and those dependent on it, even more vulnerable to revenue shortfalls during economic downturns.
In addition, Utah’s statist politicians support a streamlined sales tax which has only a very limited number of rates and can be collected relatively easily by businesses wherever they may be. A uniform, across the board sales tax on food is, therefore, another step towards this streamlined sales tax which allows politicians to provide still more funds for the state by collecting taxes on all internet and catalog sales at the time of sale rather than relying on purchasers to remit the appropriate sales tax at the time they file their income taxes.
Press reports indicate that the Utah State Senate is likely to support increased sales taxes on middle and upper income earners. The election of Wayne Harper, who is the 1st vice president of Streamlined Sales Tax Governing Board, Inc., to the Senate will give the food sales tax a boost as he joins forces with Senator Curt Bramble who is on the governing board of the same organization. (The state of Utah became an associate member of Streamlined Sales Tax on October 1st, 2005 and a full member state on October 1st, 2012.)
Senators can count on strong support from powerful business interests that have been exempt from most sales taxes and that won’t pay this tax either.
Support has also been expressed by the lobbyists of the taxpayer subsidized Utah League of Cities and Towns and from the Utah Taxpayers Association which see the additional funds being used for transportation projects.
At the same time, Valentine told the Salt Lake Tribune that the funds from the sales tax are used for services that indigents need in an apparent effort to gain the support of social justice groups.
Ironically, self-proclaimed conservative, Republican Senators and business leaders will likely find themselves using many of the same arguments that the Obama administration makes for higher income taxes on small business owners and individuals making more than $200,000.
- The citizens can afford it, they don’t need the money (We statists know what they need better than they do),
- Fairness requires that those who succeed financially in life should pay a larger percentage of their income to the state (so we can redistribute it as we see fit),
- The state needs the money more than the individual does (according to us),
- Increased taxes are required to bring about greater equality (as determined by us),
- Citizens are cheating the state out of revenue by purchasing on line (It’s the state’s money and we want it),
- Reallocation of current funds is not possible (Every existing state program is critically important and needs every penny it has – and more), and,
- The state will better “invest” the money than will individuals who earn it (We know what is the best use for your money).
While taxes to support the core functions of the state are accepted by virtually all citizens as long as the revenues collected are effectively used and properly managed, statist politicians are never satisfied with what they have. And they are always searching for still larger, more stable sources of revenue to fund existing non-core, inefficient, wasteful functions of the state and to further expand the state’s programs and reach.
Valentine’s proposed bill:
- increases the state sales and use tax rate on food and food ingredients to the general state sales and use tax rate;
- provides that food and food ingredients are taxable for purposes of certain local option sales and use taxes;
- modifies state and local sales and use tax rates and revenue allocations;
- enacts a refundable state earned income tax credit;
- enacts a refundable income-based tax credit.