Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hotel Workers Flood Council for Tax Rebate Bill

I went to last night's City-County Council Meeting. I wanted to see the Mayor introduce the budget and I wanted to see how the vote went on Prop 188. I never got to do the former.

See, it was standing room only at the meeting last night. Less than standing room only. A sea of red shirts completely flooded not only the council chambers, but also the entire second floor entry area to those chambers. The Fire Marshall's capacity notice for the room, if I recall correctly, states the room can hold no more than 275. I'm pretty sure the chambers were well past that number. (In the wake of the State Fair tragedy, I wonder what the fallout would have been if something terrible would have happened in that packed room.)

The hundreds of red shirts represented a segment of the hotel workers in Indianapolis that were there to support the introduction of Proposal 242, a tax rebate for the city's employees in that industry. Not just any of the employees, but just those making between $10,000 and $25,000 annually.

The hotel workers' point is that many of these hotels are getting a tax break to make money in the city, and if the hotels get a piece then so should the hotel employees.

The tax break would come in the form of a rebate that would be somewhere between $200 and $250 per year. A decent little check for someone making less than $25,000. Abdul-Hakim Shabazz points out that this equals about 54 cents a day, and is thus not worth fighting for. His math is right, but when you make that kind of money $200 is worth fighting for.

You may think I'm saying I support 242. You'd be wrong. You see, I fully support lower taxes and the increased economic freedom they bring. But I also support economic freedom for all, not just some, as well as drastically simplified tax codes. Proposals like 242 carve out yet another exemption to a specific group and add another layer of confusion to an already multi-faceted mess of tax laws out there.

Hotel workers, you've got the right idea. Lets get the government to allow us to keep more of what we earn. You're going about it wrong, though. We need to eliminate these carve-outs for specific industries, companies, and people and focus on a big carve-out for us all.

1 comment:

  1. While these Unite Here folks are a bit too liberal for my taste, I'd much rather give them a tax break than the millions upon millions of dollars we spend subsidizing downtown hotels to attract conventions. These hotels are making profits hand over fist, and almost all the benefits either go into the hotel structure itself, or to upper management/corporate/franchise owners. Very little, if any, makes it to the bottom.

    I think the $10,000-25,000 figure was chosen because thats most likely to be a full-time worker. Part-time workers likely make under that amount and thus either have other jobs outside of the hospitality industry, or are kids in high school/college and are just working it for some spare cash rather than to support themselves.