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The 2014 Tax Revolt

November 19, 2014 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

As they whistle past the post-election graveyard, Democrats have found a new tune: Voters may have rejected their candidates for everything from U.S. Senate to dogcatcher, but they really still agree with them on the issues.

Of course this clearly isn’t true when it comes to Obamacare, which just dropped to its lowest approval ever in the most recent Gallup poll. And as we examine the election results in more detail, it’s apparent that voters don’t much like other liberal ideas — like tax hikes — either.

Kansas is exhibit A. Democrats and much of the media were convinced that Republican governor Sam Brownback’s decision to slash state taxes would doom him. Brownback cut the personal-income-tax rate by more than a third, from 6.45 to 3.9 percent, and Kansas became the first state ever to completely eliminate taxes on pass-through income (income earned by individual business proprietors). The papers were full of stories suggesting that Brownback was “an object lesson in the limits of conservative governance,” according to the Washington Post. “Tax Cuts on Trial in Governors’ Races,” echoed a headline in the New York Times. The Fiscal Times warned “Brownback Feeling Big Backlash to Tax Cuts in Kansas.”

American voters are clearly fed up with a government that demands ever more and more of their money.”

But when the smoke cleared, Brownback was reelected.

So were other tax-cutting Republican governors. Obviously taxes were far from the only issue in these races. Still, it is interesting that of the two Republican governors who lost reelection, the most prominent — Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania — was one of the few who raised taxes.

Taxes were a big issue in blue states, as well. In fact, they may have been the biggest reason that some normally solid-blue states turned red. In Massachusetts, for instance, Democratic candidate Martha Coakley said she wanted to explore ways to replace the state’s flat 5.2 percent income tax with a graduated one. She also opposed an initiative on the ballot that would repeal automatic indexation of the state’s gas tax. While Coakley left the door open to additional tax hikes in the future, her opponent, Charlie Baker, ran on a firm “no new taxes” platform. No doubt Coakley was a poor candidate all around, but this was still Massachusetts, the home of Michael Dukakis, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry. That Baker will be the next governor shows that the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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