Exclusive interview. State Representative Will Guzzardi on the fair tax bill.


39th District State Representative Will Guzzardi.

Fred Klonsky: Do you support Lou Lang’s fair tax bill that passed committee yesterday and has come to the floor of the House?

Will Guzzardi: Yes.

Will it pass the House?

That’s the two billion dollar question. We’re working very hard to get the few Republican votes we need in the House. We think that it’s eminently reasonable and that pretty much every Republican should be in favor of a tax cut for 99% of her/his constituents, but there are obviously other political factors at play. 

Will the Senate agree or come up with something else and which might then lead to  no agreement.

If the House passes it, it’ll certainly pass the Senate.

Is this for show?

No. I’ve been working very closely with the proponents for the last few months and I can say that we are very serious about it. 

If it passes both chambers, survives a veto – By the way, does it require the Governor’s signature? – and gets on the ballot, it then opens the door to change in the tax levels later. So, while it only raises $1.9 billion now, can it raise  more later?

The Governor doesn’t have to sign. After we get super-majorities in both chambers, it needs 60% of votes in the general election.

And look, $1.9 billion is not enough revenue to fix our state’s profound budget crisis. But it’s a huge step in the right direction. And this is the fairest possible way to do it. 

Is this a choice between this or going back to a 5% flat tax?

“Back to 5%” isn’t on the table right now, so it’s not really a binary choice. 

I wonder if this isn’t like ObamaCare, in that if we get this will it kill something better – like single payer.

As you said, it doesn’t raise enough.  

I don’t think that adopting this will kill something better. It’s going to be a tough fight politically even just to get this out with 71 votes. So I’m not sure that there’s the appetite just at the moment for much more than this. I think that in the medium to long term, we need to change the politically possible in Springfield, to change the environment down here such that a more broad-based progressive tax policy can be enacted. All about that political revolution. But the fact that this is even moving down here shows that that revolution has already begun.

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