Those moves contrast strikingly with proposals and new laws in blue states:
- Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D) wants to increase income taxes and cut sales taxes in order to spend $34.8 billion more on education and transportation.
- Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) proposed to decrease local property taxes and the sales tax rate while increasing the income tax rate for high-income earners as well as closing tax loopholes. His plan would add $2.1 billion to revenues and cover the projected $1.1 billion deficit in the state's fiscal year 2014-15 biennial budget.
- During a special legislative session in May 2012, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) signed a law that raised income taxes on individuals making more than $100,000 and a new top rate of 5.75 percent on income over $250,000.
- In California, voters approved Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown’s Proposition 30, which included a temporary income tax hike to get the state’s budget out of the red.
The economics of taxes is fiercely debated.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative public policy think tank founded by former Ronald Reagan economic adviser Arthur Laffer, advocates that states eliminate income taxes and put rigid limits on spending as a strategy to promote economic growth.
If Louisiana or Nebraska eliminated its income tax, the move would be historic, says Nicholas Johnson, a state fiscal policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington.
“No state has repealed their income tax since oil-rich Alaska did in 1980,” he says.