The Campaign Spot

Yes, Taxes Did Go Up in 2009. By a Lot.

Several liberals are pointing to a comment by William Gale of the Brookings Institution that “taxes are at their lowest levels in 60 years” and mocking Tea Party protesters, contending that they’re complaining that taxes are the same or lower.

Er, no. The federal income tax is unchanged, and some taxpayers got a whopping $13 per week (don’t spend it all in one place!) as part of the stimulus. However, Obama raised tobacco taxes and the health care bill has additional tax hikes waiting to go into effect.

But more importantly, 2009 was a year of record tax hikes at the state and local levels: 29 states enacted tax and fee increases this year that are expected to take almost $24 billion from their residents. Localities raised property taxes and other local fees even more.

That’s not Obama’s fault, but I don’t think most taxpayers spend a lot of time specifying the blame for tax hikes; they just see the checks they have to write for their income taxes at federal, state, and sometimes local level; property taxes, corporate income taxes, interest and dividend taxes, car taxes, booze taxes, hotel and restaurant meal taxes, etc. and conclude that government, as a whole, it taking too much from them and delivering too little in return.

Obama may insist that he’s not the one responsible for higher tax bills this year, but state and local governments have already taxed the public’s patience.

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