The good people of Virginia are about to get a reward for enduring the sh*tshow that has been playing out in the Commonwealth. They are going to get a tax cut.
I’m not sure they deserve it. After all, Virginians elected the Northam-Fairfax-Herring slate. But they did so with imperfect knowledge about the trio, so let’s not be churlish.
The tax break affords Virginians $1 billion in relief. According to the Washington Post:
The deal includes a sharp increase in the standard deduction for people filing state tax returns — for individuals, to $4,500 from the current $3,000; and for married couples, to $9,000 from $6,000.
In addition, taxpayers will get a one-time refund in October — just before election season — of up to $110 for individuals and $220 for married couples.
State and local taxes will continue to be deductible at current rates instead of being capped, as they are in the federal plan. And several business tax breaks bring the total value of the package to at least $976 million.
Republicans have been pushing for tax relief for some time. They want to offset the effect of the 2017 federal tax cut that capped the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted. Virginia taxes, though much lower than Maryland’s, are high enough that the cap on deductions hurts many Virginians.
Virginia Democrats resisted, as Democrats almost always do in these cases. Northam held out for spending increases, as Democrats almost always do in these cases. The tax relief package seemed to be going nowhere.
But after the blackface scandal broke, Northam reconsidered, his willingness to go to the mat for fiscal liberalism seemingly sapped by demands from Virginia liberals that he step down (Northam reportedly is considering leaving the Democratic party and becoming an independent). He agreed to the tax cut and got little in the way of extra spending.
If only Northam would reconsider his position on infanticide.
Republicans have the majority in both houses of the state legislature, albeit just barely. So once Northam caved, tax relief was on the way.
When the blackface scandal broke, I had feared that Northam, if he remained governor, would seek absolution by veering further to the left. Wrong again, it appears.
Reportedly, Northam seeks absolution by promising to read Roots and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ essay “The Case for Reparations.” Ta-Nehisi Coates? That’s carrying the joke too far.
Even so, if I lived in Virginia, I’d be okay with Northam reading The Communist Manifesto, as long as he agrees to tax cuts.