Can avoiding tax cuts protect you from COVID?

It sounds like a strange question, unless you’ve actually read the COVID-19 relief bill. And few people have.

Most Granite Staters have no idea what’s in the $1.9 trillion American Recovery Act, other than the highlights: $1,400 checks for people earning $75,000 or less ($2,800 for couples earning up to $150,000), billions of dollars for states and municipalities ($350 billion, to be exact) and billions more ($129 billion) to schools.

Few of Senator Hassan’s constituents know she voted for a special $1,400 a week child care benefit just for federal employees. Not many of Rep. Chris Pappas’ voters are aware of his support for sending COVID relief checks to incarcerated criminals like NH cop-killer Michael Addison.

And while President Joe Biden insists that “Everything in this bill is designed to relieve the suffering and meet the most urgent needs of the nation,” the left-leaning Politifact website confirms only one percent of the money goes to vaccines. “At the high end, direct COVID-19 spending represents about 8.5% of the bill’s $1.9 trillion cost,” writes fact-checker Jon Greenberg.

But of all the strategies to confront the COVID-19 pandemic in the Democrats’ bill, none is as innovative as stopping states from cutting tax rates. Forget hydroxychloroquine. The new way to defeat COVID is with higher taxes.

As the Wall Street Journal reports:

The bill explicitly bars states from cutting taxes. States “shall not use the funds,” the bill says, “to either directly or indirectly [our emphasis] offset a reduction in the net tax revenue” that results “from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase.”