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Sunday, December 05, 2004

Support Bush or Die -- your choice
Posted by Jill | 1:10 PM

If you need further proof that "blue states" are being punished for not toeing the line by voting for Der Führer, here ya go:

On the day a New Jersey native was offcially nominated to become the nation's homeland security chief, the federal government sharply cut New Jersey's anti-terrorism funding.


The loss of $31 million to protect the state is "a slap in the face to New Jersey and all our residents," [Codey] said.

He said he was especially angry at what he considers to be the inequitable distribution of the money, saying that New Jersey will receive $4.35 per capita in federal homeland security funds while Wyoming and North Dakota will get $29.45 per capita and $20.80, per capita respectively.


Newark, which is home to Prudential Financial Inc.'s headquarters, was among the East Coast cities where the terror alert level was raised last summer in response to intelligence indicating that major financial institutions could be al-Qaeda terror targts. The alert level was reduced in November.

The article is in today's Bergen Record, no link up yet.

It isn't bad enough that here in NJ we get 57 cents back from the federal government for every dollar we put in, while red states get far more than they pay. But now, a state that was heavily affected by the events of 9/11, with World Trade Center victims hailing from Ringwood in the north to one of the most hard-hit, Middletown, in the south, is getting royally screwed so Dick Cheney's and John Thune's states can get more money -- states that are at close to zero risk of ever being attacked.

Yes, New Jersey is a densely populated state, and so its per capita spending is going to be less than in other states. But less by a degree of five? When New Jersey is within spitting distance of the location of the last attack?

What this tells me is that the Republicans in Washington continue to say a giant "fuck you" to states that still value freedom and individuality, that still believe in the Constitution and secular government, that still revere Democracy....even when those states are the ones the most likely to be hit by the terrorists Bush has built his Administration around claming to fight.


The LA Times covers another kick in the pants the Republicans have in mind for the blue states -- the elimination of the tax deduction for state and local taxes. So now not only are our taxes higher because we're funding the red states, but the one mechanism in place to attempt to level it out is going to be yanked out from under us:

As President Bush lays the groundwork for a possible overhaul of the U.S. tax code, one option under consideration would deal its biggest financial blow to citizens of blue states such as California and New York.

Some conservative activists are urging the Bush administration to scrap the federal deduction for state and local taxes as part of a broader plan to revamp the nation's tax system.

Although the proposal would hurt some taxpayers in nearly every state, it would hit hardest in states with higher-than-average income levels and bigger-than-average state and local tax burdens. High on the list are a number of blue states — those that were carried by Democrat Sen. John F. Kerry in last month's presidential election.

Taxpayers in California and New York, for example, which have top state income tax rates of 9.3% and 6.5% respectively, would be highly affected; residents of Florida and Texas, which have no state income taxes, much less so.

"There's no question this effort would punish blue states," said Rep. Robert T. Matsui (D-Sacramento), a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. Over time, he said, it could force state and local governments to cut expenditures.

That could happen if taxpayers, stung by the higher tax burden that would come from losing the deduction for state and local tax payments, demand a cut in local and state tax rates and become unwilling to approve any increases.

Supporters of the change insist the disproportionate effect on blue states is a coincidence, but they acknowledge that the proposal could hurt most in states that voted against Bush.

"Let me put it like this: It certainly isn't something that's a discouragement," said one prominent conservative. "Yes, we talked about this. The fact that it hits blue states is not something that's been missed among Republicans."

So why is it that blue states have higher taxes than red states? Is it solely a question of "big government" programs that take care of people, however ineptly, where red states allow their children to have lousy educations and their poor to remain illiterate, hidden out in the hinterlands in houses that still have no running water and no indoor plumbing? Or is it perhaps that they get more federal dollars back for each of their citizens, and they don't HAVE to levy the state and local taxes to make up the difference?

I am one blue-stater who is damn sick and tired of subsidizing a bunch of freeloaders who mooch off the federal teat and then talk about "self-determination."
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