Post-Crescent Rains on HOPE

The Editors of the Appleton Post-Crescent aren't fooled with the latest 'feel good sounding name, but lack of a way to pay for it' tax shift that Democrats in the State Legislature.

I almost feel sorry for State Senate Minority Leader Judy "Moonbeam" Robson (D-Beloit) and State Rep. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) for this brow-beating.

Did Democrats in the Legislature decide first to call a sketchy plan they introduced last week for controlling property taxes the Homeowner's Property Exemption act, then realize that, in a happy accident, they'd be promoting HOPE? Or did they come up with the acronym HOPE, then with a proposal that would fit?

Indeed, as we suspect they did with its name, lawmakers seem to have backed into the legislation. HOPE, they tell us, would give property taxpayers a break and pay for it by closing some of those evil corporate tax loopholes. Most of the specific loopholes are yet to be identified. HOPE relies on the Joint Survey Committee on Tax Exemptions to recommend which the state should close to pay for the tax break.

Democratic lawmakers referred to some of states' more ludicrous sales tax exemptions, like luxury skyboxes, and note that "loopholes" amount to more than $3 billion. The skyboxes are a pittance. It's the exemptions for business-to-business services, like attorneys' and accountants' fees and advertising, and on personal services, like doctors' and dentists' services, that really add up. But it's not really businesses that pay sales taxes. It's consumers.

Property taxpayers are eager for real relief, not a tax shift. They need more than HOPE.
HOPE stands for Homeowner's Property Exemption; to paraphrase a known TABOR opponent: Where'd they get the "O" from?

Sometimes it's too easy...

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