The Corner

The Tax Man

Today’s Washington Post describes a new tax-hike plan just approved by Virginia’s House of Delegates which would “end tax breaks for many businesses.” First of all, it’s depressing to see Republicans in my state sign onto a tax increase–just because the Democratic governor is calling for a different mix of the same thing doesn’t make it okay. The fundamental problem is Richmond’s spending. But the Post also does something to annoy me: The taxes in question aren’t really “tax breaks” for “business”–which makes ordinary folk seem peculiarly insulated from them. If the Republican plan is approved, it would end the sales-tax exemption on utilities, dry cleaners, phone companies, etc. Those costs certainly won’t be absorbed by business–they’ll be passed on to consumers. So what we’re talking about here isn’t “tax breaks for many businesses” but tax breaks for virtually all Virginians.

John J. Miller, the national correspondent for National Review and host of its Great Books podcast, is the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. He is the author of A Gift of Freedom: How the John M. Olin Foundation Changed America.

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