It's hard to imagine a more naked example of rent-seeking than this one
A group representing Arizona hospitals is pursuing a ballot initiative that would tax the state's high-income earners to help pay the health-care tab for the state's neediest kids and adults.
The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association expects to file paperwork for the initiative later this week, aiming for a place on the November ballot.
It asks voters to raise the state income-tax rate 1 percentage point on income exceeding $150,000 per individual and $300,000 per couple.
The association estimates the initiative would raise more than $140 million each year to pay for health insurance for low-income children and adults, graduate-school medical education and reimbursement to hospitals that care for the poor.
In other words, the government will take the money and hand it over to hospitals to do the things they are already doing. I could put together a heartwarming story too for my industry -- we think there should be a 1% tax on all Arizona residents for kids to visit parks and campgrounds to fight childhood obesity and improve their connection with nature -- but you don't see me rent-seeking like this.
My gut feel, though I have no direct evidence, is that this is being rushed through to beat the deadline on Obamacare implentation -- my guess being that this will be somehow moot once that program is in place so the hospitals want to get their licks in before anyone really figures out the new health care law. Once the tax and program is in place, it will be virtually impossible to kill, even if it is irrelevent post-Obamacare. Anyone have knowlege about this one way or the other?