It’s no surprise Paul Mulshine, uberconservative columnist who frequently devotes his weekly column to promoting the GOP’s latest talking points, has a lot to say about Governor Corzine’s budget proposal. His latest meme goes something like this: if you’re a middle-class New Jerseyan, Corzine is going to personally kick down your door and rip your paycheck out of your hard-earned, economic recession-weakened hands.
Unsurprisingly, this is the tune Jersey Republicans have decided to sing. They make quite a chorus: Alex Decroce, Mike Doherty, Eric Munoz and the rest of the lot have all begun squawking, parrot-like, with sudden concern for the middle class.
For someone who’s supposedly so concerned with the plight of the middle class, Mulshine sure makes some weird arguments:
In the course of these briefings, I noticed another really nutty aspect of the Governor’s continuing attack on the middle class: It’s not just that middle-class homeowners will lose their tax rebates. They will also have their income taxes raised to fund rebates for people who don’t even pay property taxes.
I mean renters.
First of all, as any middle class family who rents instead of owns can tell you, renters pay property taxes. Landlords pass property tax costs along to tenants, and this tax money is incorporated into monthly rents. (As a conservative who frequently argues against the efficacy of some taxes on the grounds that businesses will just shift costs to the consumer, Mulshine should know this. Tsk, tsk.)
What’s really weird, however, is the section of his column I’ve bolded. Mulshine implies that the income tax surcharge will devastate the middle class. Never mind that the surcharge will only apply for tax year 2008, or that it only applies to families that earn over $500,000 a year. Never mind that this devastating, radical, drastic tax hike will raise the current tax bracket for all those middle-class, $500,000 a year families from 8.97% to a whopping 9.72%.
It’s an attack on the middle class, I tell you! Mulshine and the GOP’s crocodile tears on this aren’t just pathetically obvious, they’re just pathetic.
The real reason Mulshine and the Republicans are steamed is because they’ve been constantly calling for Corzine to cut the budget, and since he finally followed their advice, they need something new to complain about.
Truth is, Corzine cut the budget 10% from last year’s figures. Not only that, but fully half the budget, nearly $15 billion, goes to property tax relief (in the form of municipal aid, school aid, etc). Mulshine and the GOP can’t stand that Corzine is all doing this while putting a slight one-time increase on all those $500,000 a year middle class families. Intellectually dishonest, but then again, that’s to be expected from Mulshine and his crew.