When you pay more to the state government than you did before it's a tax increase. It's a tax increase no matter what Gov. Ritter and the Democrats might say.
The Denver Post reports today that the Colorado state house has given its first approval to eight sales tax exemption repeals -- five of these will cause you to pay more for everyday purchases. And, one of them directly contradicts Ritter's most prominent policy position.
From the Denver Post's list, here are the five tax increases that you will pay:
If these provisions are passed by the legislature and signed by the Governor, when you buy a diet cola later this year, you'll pay more to the state government than you do now -- that's a tax increase.
- Remove the sales-tax exemption for candy and soda, $18 million;
- Repeal a regulation exempting downloaded software from sales tax, up to $20.4 million;
- Eliminate the sales-tax exemption on out-of-state retail sales made through in-state websites, up to $5 million.
- Repeal the sales-tax exemption on nonessential food items such as paper bags, napkins and plastic forks, up to $2.1 million.
- Limit a tax credit for alternative fuel vehicles, up to $2.7 million
If you download a new computer game, you'll pay more to the state government than you do now -- that's a tax increase.
If you want to buy a book from Amazon by clicking through this web site, you'll pay more to the state government than you do now -- that's a tax increase.
If your neighborhood holds a summer block party and you want to use paper plate and napkins, you'll pay more to the state government than you do now -- that's a tax increase.
If you heed Gov. Ritter's exhortations for the "green economy" and decide to purchase a flex-fuel truck in which to haul your used cans and paper and plastic to the recycling center, you'll pay more to the state government than you do now -- that's a tax increase.
By themselves, these tax increase may not look like much of a burden, but the reprehensible thing about the sales tax is that it hurts most those least able to pay -- like Colorado's working class folks already under the strain of the lingering recession. The Democrats like to posture that they represent and advocate for the "little guy." But why then are they trying to nickle-and-dime us to the poor house?
There is more in state government that could be cut. If the CSAP school testing scheme were eliminated, that would save as much as the five items listed above. Furthermore, it is entirely possible that if a rigorous analysis were done we would find that we would be better off if the state got out of this so-called 'Race to the Top' competition that will impose mandates on our schools for years to come.
Mostly, if we had bold, innovative leadership and representation in the state capitol building, we would see proposals to get rid of the sales tax in Colorado entirely. We would all be better off if this regressive revenue source was replaced by a state progressive income tax. Let those individuals and corporations (since the Supreme Court has just reaffirmed that they are 'persons', too) who are most able to pay then provide more for the infrastructure and services from which they benefit most.