Obamacare

Who Wants to Tax a Millionaire?

The "millionaire's tax" will affect more people than you think.

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Supporters of health care reform need money—a lot of money—to pay for it. So it's not surprising that they would try to get it from the people with the most money to spare. Hence the so-called millionaire's tax, a levy embedded in the House health care bill. As the noted philanthropist (with other people's money) and House Ways and Means Committee chairman, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), explained, lawmakers are targeting big earners because it "causes the least amount of pain on the least amount of people." 

That's the theory, anyway. In fact, the millionaire's tax is a good example of how poorly some politicians understand the policies they propose.

At press time, the Senate was still debating the bill's details. But the health care bill that the House narrowly approved in November included a 5.4 percent tax on the portion of gross income (which includes capital gains and dividends) that exceeds $500,000 for individuals and $1 million for a couple. The surtax would apply to tax years that begin after December 31, 2010. So the first sign that the tax will hit more than millionaires is the fact that it targets half-millionaires from the get-go.

The idea's main selling point is that the in-crease would hit only 0.3 percent of tax filers —roughly 400,000 people—yet would raise $460.5 billion over the next 10 years. Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation estimated that the new rate would affect only 1.2 percent of relatively small business owners, including sole proprietorships (that is, businesses owned by just one person), partnerships (owned by a few people), and S corporations (which have up to 75 shareholders). But because the tax isn't indexed for inflation, over time it will apply to more taxpayers as inflation affects income levels.

Sound familiar? It should, because this is how the alternative minimum tax (AMT) became such a nightmare. The AMT was created in 1969 to prevent just 155 wealthy taxpayers from using deductions and credits to avoid paying any federal income taxes. Because it was not indexed for inflation, it came to affect an ever-growing share of the population, prompting Congress to pass a patch each year limiting its reach; next year, without the patch, it is projected to strike 27.4 million Americans—nearly 20 percent of the country's taxpayers. And even with the patch, the AMT hits far more than just millionaires: In 2009, it swept up 4 million families living in high-tax states who merely took multiple deductions for dependents and houses.

The same process would happen with the millionaire tax. According to the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution (not exactly anti-tax organizations), by 2019 the number of taxpayers subjected to the health care bill's tax will have doubled. If inflation hits harder than the center's analysts assume, the number will be even higher. Either way, it will keep climbing, gradually assimilating more and more people who never thought they'd be considered super-rich. 

And many people classified as millionaires aren't millionaires at all. Out of the 300,000 or so joint tax filers earning more than $1 million, about 90 percent have small business income. That's because 75 percent of America's small businesses are structured as pass-through entities and pay their business taxes at the individual level. So the $1 million isn't going into those individuals' pockets; it's money they use to run their businesses. To avoid the new tax, those businesses would have to adopt a new structure and start paying the complicated corporate income tax. 

As income taxes increase on very productive people and small businesses, they will be less willing to hire or keep employees. The top tax rate on business owners who pay taxes as individuals, as opposed to corporations, is now 35 percent. It is already scheduled to rise to 39.6 percent on January 1, 2011, and under the House bill it would rise even higher, to 45 percent on taxable income of $500,000 for singles, $1 million for couples. With state taxes, some combined rates could exceed 55 percent. 

An acquaintance who manages a hedge fund told me, via email, "Economically, the play will disincentive folks like me to work—the tax now puts me well over the 50% tax bracket, will give me an incentive to find better tax strategies to protect my wealth and earnings and ultimately lead to a DECREASE in jobs for the U.S."

That's what has happened in states that have adopted their own millionaire taxes. In 2008, for instance, Maryland created a millionaire bracket subject to a 6.25 percent tax. When added to other state and local taxes, Marylanders could be hit with a rate as high as 9.45 percent. That didn't worry the state's governor, Martin O'Malley, who predicted that the 0.3 percent of filers affected would be "willing and able to pay their fair share." 

O'Malley was wrong. One year later, a third of the millionaires had disappeared from Maryland tax rolls. According to The Wall Street Journal, about 2,000 $1 million income tax returns were filed by the end of April 2009, down from 3,000 in April 2008. Where have these millionaires gone? Most likely to a state with no millionaire tax, such as neighboring Virginia. 

Would the same thing happen if the millionaire tax went federal? It isn't clear, the University of Michigan economist Joel B. Slemrod says in his 2000 book Does Atlas Shrug? The idea that heavy taxes on top incomes would entail huge economic distortions is somewhat ideological, he writes, and isn't rooted in serious empirical evidence. Unlike the conspirators in Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged, who escape government oppression by going on strike, real-world business leaders tend to keep on working and paying their taxes.

It's harder to move to another country than it is to move to another state within the same country. What's more, the U.S. tax code is extremely punitive toward wealthy taxpayers who move abroad. The United States is one of the few countries in the world that taxes its high-earning citizens on their income regardless of where they earn it or where they live. And because some Americans abroad have tried to renounce their citizenship to escape the worldwide tax treatment, in 2008 Uncle Sam imposes an exit tax on those who want to escape. 

This exit tax, worthy of authoritarian regimes, could very well dissuade Americans from leaving the U.S. This means they would be stuck with no choice but to pay the millionaire tax in the U.S.

Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer is more pessimistic, or at least was. In a 2007 article written with her economist husband David, she concluded that tax changes—on millionaires or anyone else—"have very large effects: an exogenous tax increase of 1 percent of GDP lowers real GDP by roughly 2 to 3 percent." In other words, when you raise taxes, the economy shrinks. Weighing these factors, at the very least a millionaire tax is likely to be astonishingly inefficient.

It is also unfair, and it would be unfair even if it were indexed to inflation. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the top one-fifth of households already pay 69 percent of the costs of the federal government. Now the millionaire's tax is being tasked to pay for more than half the cost of the House bill. Is it really fair to place that much of the burden on just 0.3 percent of the taxpayers?

Contributing Editor Veronique de Rugy (vderugy@gmu.edu) is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

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  1. Unions tentatively struck a deal Tuesday to exempt collectively bargained healthcare plans from a tax on high-cost plans expected to be used to help raise revenue for the healthcare overhaul.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com…..3_9874.php

    1. So if you have an expensive policy, you have to pay a 40% tax on it (which effectively means you lose your insurance) if you are not a union member, but there is no such tax if you are a union member? How is this constitutional? I can’t wait to see all the lawsuits that will be filed if this monstrosity passes.

      1. Union members and Nebraskans get the sweet deals with this health care bill…

  2. Perfect. I love how we keep getting better and better at picking winners and losers in this health care bill.

    1. Great comment I couldnt agree more..

  3. Don’t deals with unions (or w/ anyone) mean a re-vote?

  4. Oh, there has to be a re-vote on the new conference committee bill.

    This deal raises two questions:

    (1) Who has to pick up the tab for the unions? Some other tax has to go up now that they aren’t pulling their weight.

    (2) Will any Dems vote against the bill because it has special treatment for unions?

  5. And because some Americans abroad have tried to renounce their citizenship to escape the worldwide tax treatment, in 2008 Uncle Sam imposes an exit tax on those who want to escape.

    Not that I’ll ever be that rich, but if I was going to bail and move to Costa Rica, I’d just convert my wealth to, say bearer bonds or gold, take it with me (private plane or yacht), buy my citizenship there, renounce it in the US, and tell the IRS to suck my balls.

    1. +1 R.C.

      1. Some people do this but my understanding is that you can never return to the US without being picked up by the feds AND you can’t go anywhere else that has extradition. Eventually you’ll want to get something in a first world country.

        1. While in theory the US could launch Noriega-style raids this is unlikley. However, the payment of the tax itself is a civil matter, so I don’t think you could be extradited as long as you filed a return.

          You’d just need to make sure you don’t have any property in the US (including US stocks) and never return (or you’d be held for contempt of court). Of course the Eurozone taxes aren’t any better.

          1. Or, you sit in tropical luxury and offer to settle with the IRS for twenty cents on the dollar. The IRS probably would take a sure 20% rather than gamble on gettting nothing. This is assuming you don’t “buy” another passport under a different name. Last I heard the going rate was about $50,000 (US)

            1. That’s the kind of non-violent protest we need!

      2. Great read I agree with these points

  6. “(1) Who has to pick up the tab for the unions?”

    I vote the Nebraskans.

    1. Did you see that shitty game against Iowa? They damn well deserve it!

  7. The idea’s main selling point is that the increase would hit only 0.3 percent of tax filers ?roughly 400,000 people?yet would raise $460.5 billion over the next 10 years.

    That’s what they said back when they were ratifying the 16th Amendment. Look at Amerika now.

    Lew Rockwell’s law on government: Always believe the exact contrary of what the government claims.

  8. SCOTUS should strike down this “law” if it ever actually passes. What a friggin’ joke.

  9. I’d love to read a SCOTUS opinion that just said:

    “In reviewing this 2,200 page bill, we found a dozen violations of the Constitution in the first 20 pages. We will not bother reading the whole thing, preferring to strike it in its entirety as we cannot imagine that it improves with length.

    1. We will not bother reading the whole thing,

      Why in hell should they read the whole thing before ruling on it – did anyone read it in its entirety before voting on it?

    2. Great share thanks for the nice read!

  10. Right now my wife and I are on the “don’t get sick” plan while I look for one of those green jobs I keep hearing about. We should be in the front line campaigning for health care reform.

    But this kind of stuff wouldn’t even fly in Chicago.

    1. Its amazing how heathy you become when you decided you don’t want to pay for treatment. I haven’t seen a physician in seven years.

      After a while you’ll appreciate the savings.

      1. I was also planning of doing a similar thing. It’s just that I am a bit scared of not seeing a physician. Ah, it’s probably worth a try. electric grill

  11. The author knows very little about accounting. Pass-through income is not taxed all that differently from salaries.

    Here is how it works. Let’s say you own a corporation, work for it, it nets $1.5 million per year before your salary and it pays you $1 million per year. Taxes: Corporate income tax on $500k, payroll taxes on $1 million (including employer part of SSA + medicare,) personal income tax on $1 million + SSA and Medicare tax. Total taxed: $1.5 million

    Let’s say the same business is a sole proprietorship. Taxes: personal income tax on $1.5 million, SSA + medicare tax, self-employment tax which is same as SSA + medicare tax.

    The rub comes down to how the corporate income tax compares to the marginal tax rate for income between $1 million and $1.5 million. I think the corporate income tax is 35% so your taxes are probably a little lower with the corporate structure. The corporate income tax rate should really be the ceiling for marginal personal income tax rates.

    However, the idea that sole proprietors get taxed on their working capital while corporations do not is silly.

    1. But the real key, is you don’t pay your employee 1m. Instead you buy things like corprorate cars etc, that are then all tax deductible (at least more so than if purchased as an individual)

      1. But S-corporations and LLCs can do the same thing. Expenses are counted against revenue by the S-Corp or LLC. So if the s-corp is providing a vehicle for business purposes, the cost of that would be deducted. Only net profits are passed through and reported on the individual’s tax return.

      2. Great share thanks for the post!

  12. Regarding the 40% tax penalties on premium insurance plans. People might want to read this letter from the CBO to Senator Snowe

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/108xx/doc1…..e_Plan.pdf

    Given the following:
    1. small businesses employ the majority of people in the US
    2. the Senate’s plan defines a premium plan as one that costs more than $8500
    3. the CBO estimates the average small business plan will costs $7800
    4. the mandates pushed onto the insurance companies will raise the costs of plans
    5. the CBO always ends up underestimating costs as Congress’ mandates are an ever expanding target.
    It is almost guaranteed that millions and millions of people’s plans will end up over the threshold and therefore subject to the 40% tax.

    1. Scott66|1.13.10 @ 6:40PM|#

      Given the following:
      1. small businesses employ the majority of people in the US

      I hear this statistic a lot, but would like to know how it is calculated.

      First, are employees at franchises like McDonald’s considered “small business” employees? I would almost think you would have to be counting all these people to get such a high fraction. Second, what about small businesses that are wholely owned by larger organizations? For example, I work for such a small company, owned by a large conglomerate. At no point has my company EVER not been part of, or owned by, a larger company. Are we a small business or not?

      1. I see the comment ‘small business employ the majority of people in the US’, all the time now, but never with any references. (It’s kind of like the ‘45,000 people die every year because of lack of health insurance’, everyone believes it because someone said it on the TV (or the Internets)).

        It used to be ‘small businesses create the majority of new jobs in the US’, but that was before someone pointed out the small businesses lose the majority of jobs every year, too.

        This is a link to the Small Business Administration web site that classifies business sizes.

        http://www.sba.gov/idc/groups/…..blepdf.pdf

        This is a 38 page table classifying hundreds of businesses.

        Food services is on page 37. The limit appears to be $ 7,000,000; unless you are a food service contractor, then the limit is $ 27,000,000. Hmmm, I wonder why. Who uses a lot of food service contractors? The federal government. Who needs to be able to claim they are using a ‘small business’ to check a box on some form to satisfy some idiotic contracting law? The federal government. Who doesn’t want to have to deal with a real small business, because it is too inconvenient? The federal government.

        I’m sorry, is my cynicism showing?

      2. As TCMann points out there is no set definition of a small business. The CBO acknowledges that it is hard to define small business.
        I tend to use the very rough guideline of 500 employees. According to the 2004 business census approx. 59 million people work for companies under 500 employees and 56 million work for companies over 500 employees thus my claim that most people work for small businesses.
        If you think I am being somewhat arbitrary, well fair emough. However, the point stands that a lot of middle class people are going to get hit with the 40% premium as the Senate bill is now written. And the $8500 is not adjusted for inflation so more people will get caught up over time like the AMT.

      3. Just looking for loopholes to raise tax rates, eh, Mr. One World Government is Good?

        Idiot.

  13. If I had a megacorp I’d basically just jack up prices and raise my salary every time the feds did this.

  14. I hope everyone here understands that the PLAN is to make more and more people unable to afford insurance plans after this tax. It’s just a methodical step towards the single payer plan. There is no way even the politicians in office now are deluded enough to think this will work. It is dishonest and really a damned shame for these united States of America.

  15. “At press time, the Senate was still debating the bill’s details. But the health care bill that the House narrowly approved in November included a 5.4 percent tax on the portion of gross income (which includes capital gains and dividends) that exceeds $500,000 for individuals.”

    An individual with $500,000 is a “millionaire” now? Wouldn’t this best be called the Half Millionaire’s Tax?

    1. I couldn’t agree more with your claim that it’s absurd that an individual with $500,000 is considered a millionaire. This horrible economic situation made me really stressed that I’m taking bee pollen supplements and other medications that I can barely afford right now. I hope that the economy would improve, and it better happen soon.

  16. The health care bill will kill jobs because it’s designed to kill them.

    The Democrats don’t want people to have good paying jobs with great benefits, they want them poor, trapped in hideously unsafe workplaces, and voting Democrat in the vain hope that the Dems would make things better.

  17. Oh, shut up, quit whining, and start paying your bills for once, you little babies.

    As an interesting aside, a couple years ago, I typed in “Raise my taxes” into Google, and was only able to find a few items where anyone was calling for their own taxes to be raised. Do the same thing today, and you find many, many more….even a few conservatives.

    I am glad to see that responsible people are starting to see the light.

    1. Any bills that come from contracts I willfully entered into get paid. Bills and Taxes are still different, aren’t they?

      1. Weren’t the circumstances in which the National er.. Federal Government could tax included in the Constitution? Does this “Half-Millionaire’s Tax” sound like one of them?

    2. Re: Chad,

      Oh, shut up, quit whining, and start paying your bills for once, you little babies.

      I don’t consider filling the bellies of tax consumers as “paying my bills.”

      I only pay those bills for which I voluntarily contracted. I don’t support bums.

      “Socialists are thieves with no character.”

      As an interesting aside, a couple years ago, I typed in “Raise my taxes” into Google, and was only able to find a few items where anyone was calling for their own taxes to be raised. Do the same thing today, and you find many, many more….even a few conservatives.

      Yeah, that’s good research there, Chad. Rassmussen should take a cue.

      I am glad to see that responsible people are starting to see the light.

      That’s the black helicopter they are looking at . . .

    3. Chad, stop whining and pay me 50% of your income. You owe it to me because I say so.

      1. According to Chad and Tony, it isn’t “our” money. I guess that applies to anyone who has a job.

    4. “Oh, shut up, quit whining, and start paying your bills for once, you little babies.”

      Chad, I pay my bills. I also pay the government’s.

      1. Unless you pay about $10,000 per year in federal taxes (including FICA) for every member of your family, you in fact are NOT paying your bills.

        I doubt a tenth of the whiners around here meet that benchmark.

        1. So, that includes poor people, right, Chad?

          As for the bills in question, Carlin had a line that kinda fits:

          “My needs aren’t being met!”

          “Well… get rid of some of your needs.”

          Howzabout instead of piling on more costs, we have a government that lives within its means and doesn’t pass the hat like a crack-addicted landlord asking for rent every fifteen minutes?

          1. I seriously doubt many “poor” people are paying their fair share. To pay that much tax, an individual would probably have to be making in sixties.

            1. You expect every American to make ten grand a year for their, basically, room and board. A family of five would have to make $50K extra just to live, and that’s not including the other taxes and fees.

              What the hell is wrong with you, Chad?

        2. Is Chad real or just somebody trolling? He can’t be real. Can he?

          1. Sadly, he is real.

            1. Having read quite a few of your posts you appear to have sound judgement so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one.

              Sorry, Chad, I thought you were just putting on an act to get some attention.

    5. Oh, shut up, quit whining, and start paying your bills for once, you little babies.

      I pay my bills. What I object to is paying your bills, you snotty little twat.

      -jcr

    6. Mind your own goddamned business, Chad.

  18. “Raise my taxes” still doesn’t put up quite as many Google hits as “troll my choad”.

    1. You are so clever…you can make fun of peoples’ internet names. What’s next, THIRD grade?

      1. That wasn’t making fun, Chad… it was an accurate descriptive term.

    2. Actually, “raise my taxes” resulted in 3,090,000 hits. “Troll my choad” resulted in 17,800. What’s fun about that, though is that this particular thread showed up third on the search list for “troll my choad” behind “Urban Dictionary: Choad” and “Urban Dictionary: Grundel Choad”. I’m not supporting Chad, I just thought that was a fun little bit of fact.

  19. The continued success of this tax is based on the assumption people who are smart enough to earn this kind of money, are then going to be so stupid as to just just give it to the Feds.

    I wouldn’t count on it

    1. Preview, Preview.

  20. The idea’s main selling point is that the in-crease would hit only 0.3 percent of tax filers

    Just like every other “soak the rich” scheme, you can bet we’ll all be inflated right into that tax bracket just as fast as the Fed can do it without causing a violent rebellion.

    -jcr

  21. The health care bill will kill jobs because it’s designed to kill them.

  22. “Unless you pay about $10,000 per year in federal taxes (including FICA) for every member of your family, you in fact are NOT paying your bills.”

    Time to get a job, Li’l Timmy. No, it doesn’t matter that you’re only four years old… Chad says you’re slackin’ on your bills. Pony up, you lazy little fucker.

  23. I suppose you all believe these folks actually earned their millions. What a fantasy – years of slavery, wars fought just to open markets and protect cheap oil, crony capitalism keeping credit cheap, etc. Stop whining and own up to all the poitive externalities your government is throwing on you rich bums so that you can take daddy’s inheritance and put your money to work while you take your local politician out to dinner and get him laid.

    1. You refer to millionaires as though everyone on here is not and then you address us as the rich millionaires that won’t pony up our unearned wealth. Which is it?

  24. As I calculate it, this comes to an extra $115000/yr of taxes per person:

    460,000,000,000/400,000/10

  25. In the late 80’s there was a 10% tax on Yachts. People stopped buying them and it put many regular joes out of work. It was reversed.

  26. The problem with basing fiscal policy on revenue gained by soaking the rich is that the rich can afford towels.

  27. Can we in good conscientious take from our neighbor and keep for ourself. I belive we call this theft.

    It would be ideal to live by a service motive, looking at those around us as Brothers as in the Brotherhood of Man founded on The Fatherhood of God, living our lives by the Golden Rule.

    When that day comes and we are guided by this service motive and only then can we give up our profet motive system. Until then lets stay with what works.

  28. Come on, Veronique. The argument that Maryland’s millionaires fled due to income taxes has been thoroughly debunked. See http://www.itepnet.org/Preserv…..es-Tax.pdf . Even a shred of honesty would prevent you from asserting that the missing millionaires “most likely” left the state. How do you get published in “Reason” if you refuse to think?

  29. I’m better off financially if I earn $50,000 rather than $100,000. What’s my incentive to stay in business rather than taking a job as a full time checker at my neighborhood store — a rather congenial environment v my current hermit like biz of writing and using freelance designers? T’were I to earn $500,000 as an individual rather than hiring three folx to help me ramp up quantity of clients it’s in my best interest to cut two designers. So sorry, don’t apply for a job. That’s two jobs under the bus.

    My children would make out better if I offed myself this year rather than slogging along and being met with a death tax. Capital gains. My investments permit these companies to hire more people. Tax me enuf and I’ll just pull my investments and hide my money under the mattress. Gee, that’s a great way to stimulate the economy (not).

    I simply do not understand the troubling ramp up in government spending. Government produces zilch. Business produces goods and services.

    Ah well, I’m preaching to the choir. That’s my two cents worth probably reduced to .5 cents by now.

    1. Well, I hear your two cents Anneftx and I share your sentiments.

      It would be unfair and inaccurate to make blanket statements, both parties are out of control, but I sincerely believe it is the Trotskyite philosophy of a number of very influential people in office now who are exploiting the social liberals who comprise a larger part of their party in an attempt to crash the U.S. so they can reform it to their liking. It’s been done many times and never once has it worked, they are that stupid they have such high opinions of themselves they really think they can do what all others failed at. They are stupid, but not complete idiots, they know full well what the effects will be if they get even one of these bills passed whole. They know, but I doubt the social liberals know, those people think with their emotions and they really are too dumb to understand.

      Not sure why people have so much trouble with this, FDR prolonged the depression to enable him to pull off his coup d’?tat, it’s hardly like this hasn’t happened before.

      So hows that FTX treating you? My ol’ girl is just parts soup. A little EL, some FXR, and a bit of every thing in between.

  30. “An acquaintance who manages a hedge fund told me, via email, ‘Economically, the play will disincentive folks like me to work…'”

    Win/win.

  31. Charlie Rangel -noted philanthropist (with other people’s money).

    That’s a keeper, Madame.

  32. We can, and will, control our income. We will refuse to feed the beast. So should all others. Atlas has already started shrugging and it will continue. Who is John Galt? He’s the leader of the revolution. No one will be spared.

  33. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that! It’s just that he, like many types of religionists, seems to take it literally, take it straight…the Bible’s books were not written by straight laced divinity students in 3 piece suits who white wash religious beliefs as if God made them with clothes on…the Bible’s books were written by people with very different mindsets…in order to really get the Books of the Bible, you have to cultivate such a mindset, it’s literally a labyrinth, that’s no joke.

  34. Ralph Fertig, president of the Humanitarian Law Project, wants to encourage a similar change within the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a violent separatist group in Turkey. But he worries that doing so will expose him to prosecution for providing “material support” to a terrorist organization, a crime Congress has defined so broadly that it includes a great deal of speech protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court, which heard Fertig’s case in February, now has a chance to correct that error.

  35. Ralph Fertig, president of the Humanitarian Law Project, wants to encourage a similar change within the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a violent separatist group in Turkey. But he worries that doing so will expose him to prosecution for providing “material support” to a terrorist organization, a crime Congress has defined so broadly that it includes a great deal of speech protected by the First Amendment. The Supreme Court, which heard Fertig’s case in February, now has a chance to correct that error.

  36. My guess is that most Americans want to raise taxes on these guys,
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  46. While I’d hate to see any tax increases in the state, and this is not an appropriate use for it, if the budget can be fixed with a one yea increase I think the Governor would be compelled to sign it. I guess the Legislature didn’t see the news today about the revenue shorfall expected for the coming year. email lookup This tax may be needed just to make up the revenue shortfall and not for more tax breaks for others.

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