Corporate Tax Cuts Are Ok As Long As They’re Democrat Tax Cuts

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Democrats in North Dakota gripe endlessly about income tax relief, claiming that they’re ok with tax relief for individuals but against tax relief for “out of state corporations.”

Forget that any sort of broad tax relief for business is, by necessity, going to include out-of-state businesses which operate in the state. And why shouldn’t it? Shouldn’t we want our state to be inviting to businesses and investors from out of state? Do we want North Dakota to be a market closed off by high tax rates to people and businesses coming from other places to do business here?

That’s a very short-sighted, close-minded view. But it’s the argument North Dakota Democrats make, and one of their loudest voices making that argument is state Senator George Sinner. “Why would we give $41 million to out-of-state companies?” asks Senator Sinner in a recent editorial in the Fargo Forum.

That’s a strange argument for Senator Sinner to make given that he argued in committee hearing for HB2358, a half-cent state sales tax reduction which also capped local sales taxes at 2%, by saying it would be tax relief for “every corporation” in the state (the bill failed on a 15-32 vote).

Here’s the audio of Senator Sinner’s testimony wherein he goes, in the span of just a few minutes, from extolling the virtues of his tax cut because it goes to corporations to excoriating Republican tax cuts because they go to corporations.

Frankly, Senator Sinner’s bill was an ok bill as far as tax relief goes. He was right in arguing that it was a broad tax relief plan that would lower costs for everyone in the state from individuals to those oh-so-evil “out of state corporations.” But the sales tax is a tax on consumption, which is a much healthier sort of tax than the income tax which is a tax on production.

I’d rather lower, or better yet eliminate, income taxes in the state as opposed to doing anything with the sales tax.

But as for Democrats and their “tax cuts for corporations” mantra, it’s pretty clear they aren’t being very consistent about it. It’s not a valid criticism of Republican-proposed policy so much as a slogan intended to incite the public.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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