Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On Kicker Reform

The proposed ballot measure to essentially repeal the corporate kicker has been getting lots of attention.  In essence, any time the states revenues exceed the forecast by 2% or more both personal income and corporate revenues in excess of this 2% threshold (of the forecast - including the 2% buffer) are returned to taxpayers.  The ballot measure would take the corporate tax excess and return it to the general fund for K-12 education funding (though the wording on this is unclear - would it be tied to K-12 and even if so, you could just reduce the other money going to K-12 so that as far as I can tell this just increases the general fund).

I have been a strong proponent of kicker reform but my purpose in so doing is to try promote a plan that provides fiscal stability through the creation of a permanent rainy-day fund.  This ballot measure does no such thing but only increases general fund revenues during flush times.  I not only do not see the point I think passage of this measure would harm future efforts to do wholesale kicker reform and a permanent and substantial rainy day fund.

But then perhaps I am naive, after all I would have thought that we would have had kicker reform and a permanent rainy day fund by now.  The topic of conversation at all the kids soccer games, baseball games, band recitals, etc. is how deeply upset this latest round of cuts has made folks, why politicians cannot find the political will to try and do something about it is beyond me.  We can't fix the immediate problem but we can do a lot to ensure it doesn't happen again.  We are talking about something that doesn't raise tax rates (but does cancel a tax refund) and provides stability in state services that reduces a huge amount of waste.  If you can't sell the thing now, when?

Update: correction above - thanks Josh...

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