Home – One-Party Control May Not Be Good for State Tax Policy

One-Party Control May Not Be Good for State Tax Policy

As a result of last year’s elections, Democrats or Republicans hold a trifecta -- control of both legislative chambers and the governor’s office -- in all but 13 states. While Republicans still hold most of those trifectas, 23, Democrats picked up six in November, bringing their total to 14.

 

The predominance of single-party control may not be the best thing for state fiscal policy, according to Brian Kirkell, principal at the tax consulting firm RSM.

 

“When you have a trifecta come into place there’s the ability for a state to ultimately think in a completely partisan manner,” he said. “In either direction -- left or right -- partisan tax policy isn’t always the best policy.”

 

When Republicans claimed a trifecta in Kansas in 2011, they enacted a series of tax cuts that resulted in years of budget deficits. And during the time that Democrats held a trifecta in Connecticut, that state suffered from budget deficits and runaway spending.

 

Kirkell said he’d be keeping a close eye on states with new Democratic trifectas. He predicted they would focus on policies like raising income taxes on high earners, broadening the sales tax, and reestablishing tax breaks eliminated by the 2017 federal tax overhaul.

 

Democratic-trifecta state Colorado is bucking that prediction a bit. While Gov. Jared Polis (D) wants to do away with the 20 percent federal tax cut for pass-through businesses, he wants to use that money to help pay for an income tax cut. (ASSOCIATED PRESS, COLORADO SUN [DENVER])