The property tax debate has long been a tough nut to crack for progressives. Especially since the 1990s, when it became the rage for rightwing legislators to cut spending at the state level, leaving county and local governments with few options other than raising property taxes to address shortfalls for key services like education.
The worst part is that these tax shifts increased property taxes, which already tend to be regressive in nature.
For decades, property tax revolts have been a thorn in the side of progressives. California's
Proposition 13 remains the highest profile example of the property tax
revolt, but just about every legislator in the country can attest to
the level of frustration many Americans feel about property taxes.
Progressive States Co-Chair David Sirota likes Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer's new plan to provide equal property tax rebates to all Montana homeowners. The move, as he suggests in a new op-ed, "shows how progressives can redefine the entire tax debate."
Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is once again putting his populist economic agenda into action, this time introducing a major property tax relief plan that shows how progressives can redefine the entire tax debate.
Like many states, Montana is predicting a budget surplus for the first-time in years. Conservatives have taken a one-time upswing in the state's fiscal outlook as an opportunity to cut taxes for large businesses -- including outfits like BNSF railway that have neglected environmental responsibilities.
With the 2006 elections quickly approaching, a small group of highly energized right-wing activists are working hard to export a failed policy from Colorado to other states around the nation. The idea is known variously as the Taxpayers' Bill of Rights (TABOR), the Stop OverSpending Amendment (SOS), or as Tax and Spending Control (TASC). Fundamentally, though, all of the amendments boil down to a single policy idea: arbitrarily capping increases in state spending based on only two factors -- population growth and the consumer price index.
The Western Governors Association on Sunday acknowledged an
inconvenient truth. The bipartisan group of Governors from West Coast,
Rocky Mountain, and Great Plains states came together to unanimously
pass a resolution (PDF) that says that global warming is real, at least partially human-caused, and that now is a time for action.
Fully aware that their anti-worker policies are anathema to most
Americans, corporate conservatives often posture and position
themselves on worker issues to avoid bearing the full brunt of the
backlash from their noxious positions and to try to fix blame on their
opponents, who really are working for the common interest.