GOP: Desperate Already?by Ryan Anderson
The source of their consternation? White's unsuccessful but politically brilliant effort to reframe the tax debate, challenging Governor Heineman's attempt to package regressive income tax reform as "middle class relief" by offering real relief to the real burden of Nebraska's middle class: property taxes. White's bill would've offered every homeowner a $500 tax credit to help offset the rising cost of local and county government, a plan Nebraskan taxpayers support by an overwhelming 85-13%.
How do you kill something that popular? A few boogeymen might help:
Sen. White, who is a high-priced trial attorney from Omaha and a long time Democrat activist, had every opportunity this year to put aside his partisanship and help eliminate the tax-and-spend mentality that has so brutally stifled economic growth in Nebraska. But rather than do what’s best for our middle-class, working families, Sen. White teamed up with Howard Dean and Ted Kennedy and assumed their nationwide Democrat strategy of unproductive negative criticism.Sadly, that emphasis is theirs, not mine. Odd that they didn't bold "trial attorney" and "Democrat activist" as well, but maybe the names Dean and Kennedy have lost some luster since their unsuccessful deployment against Ben Nelson last spring.
Sloppy as these scare tactics may be, the NE-GOP remains a master at that other classic move: playing dumb.
Governor Heineman led the effort to eliminate the Estate Tax which Senator White believes only benefits the wealthy. Apparently, Senator White hasn’t ventured outside his comfy confines ofUh-huh, except White's proposal also included a provision to eliminate the estate tax. On this issue, the Republican "fact-checkers" weren't even close. This isn't just spin, this is lies.
Omahato talk to middle-class farmers who can’t afford to leave the family farm to their children due to the unjust and punitive Estate Tax. Nebraska
A property tax cut was not “scuttled by the Governor and his allies.” This is a flat out distortion. Property tax relief was incorporated into the largest tax relief package in the history of the state. This package was permanent, lasting, and curbed uncontrolled government spending....Sound confusing? Really? Does anyone out there really not understand the concept of an income tax credit for people who pay property taxes? I mean, anyone who isn't on the Republican Party payroll?
Senator White suggested an income tax credit for homeowners, not a property tax cut. So a homeowner would still pay the same amount in property taxes, but later get an income tax credit paid for by a surplus in the cash reserve. Sound confusing? That was Sen. White’s intent.
In fact, Sen White's proposal offered relief far more effectively and directly than Governor Heineman's plan, which repreated the tried-but-not-true tactic of diverting more state funds into county coffers in the hopes that rates will come down. Of course, that's exactly the same strategy that Heineman so vocally denounced as a "tax shift" and not a "tax cut".
Confused? That was their intent.