Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Wimmer’s Tuition Tax Credits = Vouchers = Dutch Sandwich for rich

Of course meaning that the vast majority of taxpayers get the “other” sandwich…

This was appropriately the Dilbert cartoon in the paper the day I first read about Rep. Wimmer’s renamed voucher scheme. He’s backed off now so he can reduce the ammo against him in a run for congress, but I think his rationale was funny.

Wimmer apparently tweeted that it would be “cruel and indefensible” to oppose his scheme because it was going to help children. (The Daily Herald used the same reasoning in their predictable editorial in support of his proposal. It would be fun to count how many times this legislative session Wimmer or the Herald condemn “bleeding heart liberals” using the same rationale to argue for something they oppose.) Then Wimmer backed off on running the bill because “it would be negligent for me to move forward with an idea I came up with myself…” when others have great ideas too, so he’s instead starting an online discussion group.

So it was cruel and indefensible to not help the children two days ago, but now it would be negligent to run this wonderful idea I supposedly just cooked up in my basement. Wimmer’s hyperbole seems to be a habit, and we all know Mr. Big Idea was just going to run a boiler-plate, tuition tax credit plan he got forwarded to him from The Eagle Forum or The Heartland Institute.

Bottom line:
1. Tuition tax credits, depending on how the law is written, could possibly take even more money out of the public system than a voucher. If rich donors give $10,000 to pay tuition for rich friends’ children and get a credit for that, that’s $10,000 taken straight out of education. The state constitution dictates that all income tax goes directly to education and the taxes paid on that $10,000 would have been considerably less than $10,000, so the donor gets 20 times more public education funding removed from his/her bill than they would have paid on the money they donated. (5% flat tax of $10,000 = $500…Donor saves 20 times that, all straight from income tax, and the $500 dollars they would have paid gets saved too.) If there were a cap on the credit, many/most donors would only pay to that limit, and the fact the donor gets a credit 20 times larger than the taxes they would have paid on that money holds true whatever the amount.

2. Carl Wimmer is a blowhard.


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