Destroying the Middle Class to Help the Rich

Last week, we wrote about things the Republican governors of Maine, Michigan, and Florida are doing rather than creating jobs—corporate tax breaks, turning down money for rail projects, cutting education funding, and, in the especially sleazy case of Maine Gov. LePage, exempting himself from increased pension contributions for public employees.

ThinkProgress put together much more on similar initiatives in a dozen states. Some of the highlights:

PENNSYLVANIA: Gov. Tom Corbett (R) presented a budget last week that would cut taxes for corporations, while freezing teacher salaries, cutting dental care for Medicaid recipients, and eliminating more than half of the state’s universities. Yet the state has lots of revenue potential in northern Pennsylvania, where out-of-state energy companies’ “fracking” of natural gas has reaped them hundreds of millions of dollars in profits. Corbett has refused to tax these companies, many of which helped fund his gubernatorial campaign, and has instead opted to lay of more than 1,500 state workers.

SOUTH CAROLINA: Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has proposed ending the state’s corporate income tax, even while she calls for cutting physical education, K-12 schools, and Medicaid. Haley has received pushback from Republican colleagues: last week the legislature rejected her plan to force state employees to pay more for health insurance.

IOWA: Gov. Tom Branstad (R) began this year proposing a budget that included a $200 million tax cut on commercial property taxes and corporate income but would freeze spending on schools, cut $42 million to state universities and lay off “hundreds” of state workers. Since then, the Governor has already begun laying off state nursing home workers and frozen funding for mental health services. The budget is now moving through the politically divided legislature, where Republican-controlled House committees have gone even further, approving tax refunds for upper-income Iowans while cancelling infrastructure investments, eliminating preschool for 4-year-olds, closing Iowa workforce development offices, and making even deeper cuts to public universities.

It’s the same everywhere—tax cuts for corporations, all of them, including the ones that aren’t even pretending to try to create jobs; tax cuts for rich people; raised taxes for the middle class; massive cuts in education and infrastructure and other services that are necessary to keeping communities strong and enabling future generations to get good jobs and join the middle class themselves.

Everything is about the people who are rich now. And these governors will destroy anyone who isn’t rich now to give a few more dollars to those who are.