Progressive Taxation Policy — Beneficial to All

March 14, 2017

There are many common misperceptions of what constitutes “progressive taxation,” and I feel I should take a moment to detail and define the concept and value of this policy.

The progressive taxation approach is to create higher tax brackets for those with higher incomes—for example, a minimally higher 0.5% on earnings over $125,000 and 0.75% on earnings only over $250,000 per year. Putting it more simply, this would be a higher bracket for those individuals earning more than a quarter million dollars in taxable income in one year (after exemptions and any other loopholes have been utilized). I have previously introduced and will reintroduce that specific legislation as soon as we return to session. Last session, the legislation successfully emerged from committee with bipartisan support but House leadership would not allow it to the floor for a vote of the full House. The progressive tax bracket legislation would have cost an individual earning $250,000 (a quarter million) in taxable income an additional $675 (six hundred and seventy five dollars) per year in taxes.

Progressive taxation can also recover some of the taxpayer funded corporate giveaways by raising the “franchise tax” cap enjoyed by the richest global conglomerates incorporated in Delaware (minimal stock asset value of approximately $660 million) by $60,000 per year. This would raise $108 million for our State with no duress suffered by these multi-billion dollar corporations. I will be reintroducing this legislation once again this session.

Progressive taxation is not unfairly burdening those more fortunate with a disproportionate asking or taking. It is making sure that the necessary services provided by government (roads, police, education etc.) are adequately funded without any unintended harm to the economy, working people, and business community of Delaware. Progressive taxation policies promote economic growth and economic stability that are necessary to serve any civilized society and its citizens.

Exposing the insincere hand-wringing of both the right and left about the plight of those less fortunate than us might incite some necessary changes at the ballot box. The current message sent by Republicans, Corporations, and the Chamber of Commerce seems to be that the middle-class should bear a disproportionate share of of the cost of necessary government services while the wealthier corporations and individuals can avail themselves of the benefits. Unfortunately, there are enough pseudo-progressive and corporatist Democrats in leadership who support such disparities or condone them by inaction.

John Kowalko
State Representative
25th District