In my earlier post suggesting we ought to brace for a slew of new tax proposals, I forgot the always-popular internet sales tax. Governor Patrick, however, did not.
Unsurprisingly, Patrick's people are spinning this as old news. They are right, of course, that the notion of muscling up the mechanisms to tax internet sales is hardly a new idea. It's hardly a popular one, either (except on Beacon Hill, that is).
I am a big believer in the notion that our elected officials ought at a minimum to be held to their own rhetoric about "reform first." It is easy in an economic crisis to claim that the government needs "new revenue" now now now, so there is no time for cost-saving reforms. We'll do that later. Unfortunately, there is little support in our recent history for the supposition that when good times return, our "leaders" will make good on their deferred promises. Whether we can realize enough savings to dig out of our budget hole in the short term, what is the harm in insisting that whatever savings can be realized through reform ought to be realized, if not *before* consideration of any new taxes, then at least concurrent with such consideration?
On a more basic level, I agree - as usual - with Grover Norquist: "Why in the world would you think increasing taxes on people buying stuff would help the economy?"