Governors in Red States are trying take federal funds (My tax money) they get for the pandemic and send that money to their voters as handouts…..
Screw usung the money for the state’s health needs….
We have Republicans essentially trying to rob money for their own political gains…..
The state’s…Red ones, of course, feel that they can use any federal money sent to them for WHATEVER they want…..
More than a year after Congress approved a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, Republicans in nearly two dozen states have ratcheted up efforts to tap some of those funds for an unrelated purpose: paying for tax cuts. The moves have threatened to siphon off aid that might otherwise help states fight the pandemic, shore up their local economies or prepare for a potential recession.
The intensifying Republican campaign targets one of the signature programs Democrats approved as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan last year. At the urging of the nation’s mayors and governors, Congress delivered what largely amounted to a blank check for every city and state to bolster their budgets.
Congress ultimately laid down few conditions for how local leaders could use the pot of money, which totaled $350 billion nationally. But they were clear about one thing: The federal government would not subsidize state tax cuts. Lawmakers led by Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said at the time that Washington should not be on the hook to pay for reductions in state tax revenues, since that could leave major budget holes once federal aid ran dry.
Since then, however, GOP leaders have challenged the tax cut prohibition in federal courtrooms and state capitals. Attorneys general in 21 states have fought to overturn the Biden administration’s policy, federal court filings show, backed at times by powerful groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose corporate members have lobbied conservative-leaning states to reduce their tax bills. In nearly every case, these legal efforts have prevailed, hamstringing the Treasury Department while opening the door for states to pursue their own tax cuts.
In Florida, the legal wrangling has enabled DeSantis and his political allies to leverage about $200 million in federal coronavirus aid to help pay for a planned suspension of the gas tax this October, according to state budget documents. Lawmakers essentially adopted a law that deposited its allotment under the stimulus program into the state’s general fund, then appropriated the money for the tax holiday, records show.
The policy, set to take effect later this year, could be in direct conflict with the federal tax restriction, local lawyers and advocates say. But Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for the governor, blasted the tax prohibition in a statement, calling it “not legally valid.”…
The GOP crusade began about a week after Biden signed the American Rescue Plan last year. The Treasury Department had not even started writing its set of draft agency rules when Republicans mobilized to undo the prohibition on using the money to cut taxes. Led by Arizona, Georgia and West Virginia, attorneys general from 21 states last March threatened action over a policy they saw as an unconstitutional encroachment on states’ rights.
The Treasury Department soon clarified that nothing stopped states from using their own funds for tax cuts, provided they could afford them, no matter what they did with federal relief money. But the assurances didn’t mollify Republicans, who filed six major lawsuits challenging the policy over the next year.
In one seminal case, brought by Alabama and West Virginia with the support of 11 other states, Republican officials argued that Washington had no right to dictate how they spend their money, balance their budgets or set tax policy. They said the stimulus had forced them to make an “untenable choice” between relinquishing “control” of their taxing powers or surrendering “massive and much-needed aid.”
The argument that the states needed the money stood in stark contrast to the comments of their Republican representatives in Washington, who had voted unanimously against the package out of a belief that it was wasteful….
Republicans have won nearly every federal lawsuit, convincing judge after judge that the rules are unconstitutional. The Treasury Department repeatedly has appealed, but the decisions for now have left the Biden administration unable to enforce the rules in much of the country. That includes Florida, one of the 13 states to have prevailed earlier against the Treasury Department. A federal judge blocked the U.S. government from enforcing the tax prohibition in November, essentially preventing Washington from threatening to claw back funds. A court is set to hear an appeal later this year….
The outcome of those lawsuits could carry significance far beyond the American Rescue Plan: It could affect not only the fate of the $350 billion aid program but the ability of Washington to police critical elements of future stimulus packages.
“States want the power to put in their own policies and be able to set fiscal policy the way they want,” said Jamie Yesnowitz, a top state tax lawyer at the firm Grant Thornton. “They don’t want to be stifled by this provision that essentially says, ‘Hey, the federal government is going to give you this money, but there are significant strings attached to it.’ ”