Cash-strapped states across the country are looking to their cash-strapped residents for even more money.
Cash-strapped states across the country are looking to their cash-strapped residents for even more money – by taxing services – ABC News
I liver in Idaho, where we have a pretty much pay-as-you-go fiscal policy and until just recently were consistently in the black. Unemployment benefits have put us in the red, but overall, we don’t spend it if we don’t have it. It may mean some of the roads are bumpier, state employees make less and don’t have lavish retirement plans, the state vehicles get repaired rather than replaced, and so on. But it’s the way we like it here. I grew up here and it’s one of the reasons I moved back here after 7 years in California, a state where the government seems to think it’s responsible for providing everything to everyone.
The trouble with governments providing so many services is that recipients seem to grow as the services expand. We saw this exercise in human nature first hand when a church group started feeding the poor in a public park in California. The first time we did it, we fed and distributed clothing to about 15 people. The next time, a week later, there were nearly double that. In a matter of three weeks, there were nearly a hundred people showing up for a free meal, many of the illegals and many of them people with jobs. We just couldn’t keep up with the demand for free stuff. The state experiences the same thing. The old adage in public financing is that taxation discourages an activity and subsidies encourage it.
What did people do before we had all these things from government? I’m a firm believer in temporary help for the truly needy, but I know people on their second unemployment extension, entering their second full year of it, and not looking very hard for work. They’ll worry about it when the unemployment finally runs out.
Unions and the benefit packages and pay scales they negotiated and received from politicians are the one biggest reason for this dilema. When people can retire at 50 years of age with full pay and benefits payed by us the taxpayer you know sooner or later you won’t have enough money. How do you not run out of money when your paying for those kinds of benefits for 20 30 years after you get no productivity from a retired person. Hell I had to work till 65 then go on medicare and only receive 25% of what i made in the last 10 years I worked. About time we ended this crap. Cutting pay for politicians is another good savings. If they are so dedicated to serving they should be willing to do it without all the frills.
In McCain’s home state, Arizona, they are going to charge residents $100 for each state income tax form they need to file their taxes. Even if they file ‘Exempt’, ’cause they didn’t earn enough to pay taxes.
Got a source for that? I’m curious…
Post-Palin Alaska has largest debt burden in US:
I don’t think you can blame that on Palin. Alaska had the largest decline in real GDP (–2.0 percent), caused mainly by a decline in petroleum extraction. Almost 70% of Alaska if federally owned and they have the highest % of Native Americans (1 in 5). Their situation is unique and cannot be compared realistically with the lower 48.
Now now sandra, don’t try and confuse BMF with facts. He already has his facts:
“Two legs bad, four legs good!” Oh wait…
“Palin bad, Obama good!”
If you read the article, you’ll learn she left a huge debt in Wasilla as well.
Wasilla voters agreed in 2002 to a half-percent increase in the city sales tax to pay off a $14.7 million bond to build the multi-use facility. The project “was completed on schedule and under budget,” Mayor Dianne Keller said, and the complex opened its doors March 6, 2004. Sales tax revenue, which can only be used to pay the bond, is coming in faster than expected. Keller said she believes the facility will be paid off at least two years ahead of the 10-year schedule. http://www.adn.com/2005/11/30/168047/wasilla-sports-complex.html
Look, I like Sarah, but I don’t lock step agree with everything she says. I do believe she did the absolute best for Alaska. She tried to change if from a “company town” to a vibrant part of this country and she did a pretty good job.
I love the difference in sources. Sandra cites what researchers call a “PRIMARY” source… BMF cites what at best would be called a “SECONDARY” source. Who do YOU believe?
I think you are mistaking the debt of a government entity with that of a family.
You or I do not have the ability to sell bonds, raise taxes, etc.
I was one who said early on that Palin left the governorship not only for the cash cow available (ethical rules in Alaska would not allow her to take a dime for her book, speeches, etc.) but for the mere fact that the collapse of oil prices was going to cause a pretty big budget deficit. I’d have to look at numbers again, but I do believe that at the $80 a barrel price they are only breaking even.
This is a larger problem (48 states in the red, with only Montana and North Dakota still in the black) that should have been tackled some time ago. Predicating tax revenue too narrowly will always lead to these sorts or problems.
Actually you could have been more clear by pointing out that Alaska had the largest debt-to-GDP ratio. I understood what you were trying to say, but on first glance one would think that Alaska had a larger debt than California.
You seem to have an unhealthy obsession with all things Palin. Just sayin’.
Did we not already know this?….This is exactly what Reasonable thinking people of all parties were saying with exception to Obama and his followers that seem to have lost touch with reality as they fixate on the Shinny Object Obama has dangled from his left hand. We are like Deer in the headlights of a fast moving truck. This is reality. It’s really happening. It really is time to unite and get Obama out of office. At this point I don’t care what party keeps or gains control. this is apparently the Ideology of ONE man and his indoctrinated following. This can not get better as many of us are waiting for..this will only get worse. It’s time to protect America and the Ideology this country was erected from, We need to prove to the world Democracy works, Our Republic is still legitimate.
“… for desperate states, it may be their only option.”
What? Because cutting the size of government and reducing its “services” is not?
In my lifetime, state taxes as a percentage of income have nearly tripled, yet the states’ expenditures have outstripped even that outrageous growth. I neither wanted nor needed a government three or four times the relative size of the one of my youth, yet here we are.
I realized many years ago that unchecked government growth would eventually consume this country like a cancer – I just didn’t foresee it happening in my lifetime. It appears I was mistaken.
Where are the statesmen we need to make the difficult choices necessary to bring us back from the brink? I look around and all I see are politicians.
This is an excellent response. My local community is doing the same thing. It signed binding labor contracts with city employees guaranteeing no layoffs, pay or benefit cuts through July 2011. Then the reality hit. The city doesn’t have the money so they are pushing another tax hike through to fund their mistake. But nowhere in the plans with you find a willingness to make cuts. In fact, they have approved funding for even more police cars, snow plows and fire trucks! It’s ALWAYS about revenue. Cuts are something they refuse to wrap their minds around. My advice to people is to start screaming. Contact your city council members, state reps. and senators, go to council meetings, sign petitions; whatever you can do to be heard.
Where would you cut in the state budget though?
I don’t dispute your argument, it’s just a matter of where do you cut.
States have done a horrible job of making sure they have steady sources of revenue.
They got addicted to sales taxes and counties got addicted to property taxes.
This recession may be the worst since “The Great Depression”, but they didn’t change anything after the 9/11 recession.
“… where do you cut?”
… and those would be the “difficult choices” of which I spoke.
Your question had me pouring over my state’s FY2011 budget (getting … very … sleepy), and one thing I’ve discovered is that the task of deciding how and where to cut the fat out of an $18B budget is neither simple nor straightforward.
Then again, perhaps the simplest solution might be the best: Let’s say we pass an amendment to the effect that the budget cannot exceed some small-but-reasonable percentage of the state’s aggregate personal income (or GDP, perhaps? – I’m not an economist), and must be cut by a minimum of 1% until that level is achieved, and maintained thereafter. My state’s budget is being cut by 5% this year, thanks to a constitutional provision mandating a balanced budget. There is, of course, much weeping and gnashing of teeth going on at the moment, but if we (the people) are committed to limiting (and, in the short term, necessarily reducing) the size of government, budgets must be limited (and reduced) in the fat years as well as the lean.
Leave the legislators and bureaucrats to fight it out as to how the money should be divided and spent – they’re much closer to the issue, and that’s what we elect and pay them for, anyway. My point is that we only need so much government, and restricting its purse strings is a straightforward way to hold the dogs of government expansion at bay.
Much like leaving a group of children to determine for themselves when and what they should eat, leaving those in government to determine its size sounds like lunacy on its face, but is exactly what has been done (and what has gotten us to where we are today).
I’d like to think I’ve helped to solve a great problem here tonight, but I’m old – and realistic (cynical?) – enough to know better.