We already know Grover Norquist has no real boundaries about what he'll do or say to protect the obscenely rich and continue his pure worship at the feet of Dead Ronald Reagan, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised at his resistance to the idea that when you take money away, something has to replace it. He would say no, government has no right to take away your money in the first place, and at that point, I'd probably spit on his shoes and tell him to move to Somalia, where he can reap the copius benefits of the free market.
Now he's very, very upset that Gov. Sam Brownback, his poster boy for tax cuts, is recognizing reality to some small degree and Grover and his goons have to take him out:
Earlier this week, Norquist penned a letter to state lawmakers encouraging them to thwart Brownback's proposal to raise taxes on liquor sales and tobacco products. Although Norquist hewed to his normal claims that taxes end up hurting the state's bottom line, he also adopted a tactic that you'd normally hear from liberals: Don't raise these specific taxes because they overburden the poor.
"The fact is, so called 'sin taxes' like the cigarette tax and alcohol tax disproportionately impact consumers who can afford the tax increase least. A pack-a-day smoker would end up paying an extra $547.50 in taxes a year," Norquist wrote in the letter, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. "Kansans living along the Missouri border may opt to avoid the tax altogether by purchasing their tobacco products in Missouri—where the tax would be lower."
A spokesperson for Americans for Tax Reform didn't respond to several interview requests.
It's a bit rich for Norquist to show concern for the plight of low-income Kansans now. Spending on social services plummeted during Brownback's first term in office. And the tax cuts that Norquist praised predominantly favored the state's wealthy citizens—particularly thanks to a decision to zero-out taxes for nearly 200,000 privately held companies. An analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities last year noted that the total effects of all the tax code changes in Kansas in fact raised taxes by 1.3 percent on the bottom 20 percent of the state's earners.
And although slashing state income taxes may have earned Brownback praise from the likes of Norquist and Reagan taxmaster Arthur Laffer, they left the governor in a tricky spot. There's a $710 million hole in the state's budget through June 2016. Brownback isn't relying on tobacco and liquor taxes alone to close that gap. He has also proposed slowing down planned decreases in the state's income-tax rates. But Brownback still vowed to stick with his original endgame. "We will continue our march to zero income taxes," he said in this year's State of the State address. Even when the evidence might suggest otherwise, conservatives like Brownback must still bow before the infallible altar of trickle-down economics.
Psst, Grover? If you have to threaten and extort people into following your dictates, you don't really have much of a "movement" at all.