Today, President Biden signed the Democrats’ so-called “Inflation Reduction Act” into law. This behemoth bill won’t do anything to reduce inflation and includes a massive tax crackdown on the working class. Many Republicans have loudly criticized the Democrats for this disastrous policy move—but one GOP governor just stepped up and offered a substantive policy response.
“Congress just passed a disastrous $740 billion spending bill that will raise taxes and supercharge the IRS to harass middle income families,” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt tweeted. “We have to counteract this insanity. I am calling for action to reduce personal income tax & eliminate the regressive state grocery tax.”
This is a great idea.
Americans are struggling mightily under the crushing burden of inflation, which is now costing the average American $717 a month just to keep the same standard of living. Biden’s legislation does nothing to reduce inflation, and in fact, will raise taxes on many Americans both through lower wages thanks to hiked corporate taxes and increased enforcement from the IRS.
Republican governors may be able to negate some of this pain by lowering taxes at the state level. In particular, Stitt is right to highlight his state’s 4.5% grocery tax.
This is a regressive tax that disproportionately burdens lower-income households, who spend a higher proportion of their income on basic household needs like groceries. And, while all taxes suck, it’s especially wrong to tax something people need to survive, like groceries, rather than luxury taxes or “sin taxes” like taxes on cigarettes.
Plus, of all areas, food prices have surged especially high. From July 2021 to July 2022, for example, average food prices rose 11%. Relief is sorely needed, and the governor’s office estimates that eliminating this tax would save Oklahoma families roughly $500/month.
Unfortunately, nationwide inflation will remain a problem until the federal government gets its budget under control and turns off the money-printing machines. But GOP governors aren’t helpless. More should follow Kevin Stitt’s lead and fight to give their constituents meaningful tax relief—and lessen the blow from Biden’s disastrous tax hike.