The Corner

Tax Hikes and Republican Governors

I wrote about this topic for NR a few issues ago (subscription required), disputing the contention (made in the Washington Post and Washington Monthly, especially) that the state-level Republican party was becoming less anti-tax. Recent events, I think, bear me out. The Washington Monthly piece I criticized led with the example of Mitch Daniels, the Republican governor of Indiana. He proposed a tax hike on high earners to balance the budget. I noted that Republicans in the legislature were resisting–and now they have won. The final budget did not include Daniels’s proposed tax increase.

Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, has gone the other way, proposing a cigarette tax increase. That’s not great in my view, but the fact that tax-hiking Republican governors are looking to cigarette taxes–rather than to income taxes, as tax-hiking Republican governors did in the early 1990s–suggests that the anti-tax movement continues to make incremental progress.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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