Tweaking taxes

Washington can take a lesson from forward-thinking states

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Despite the impressions you may be getting from an increasingly powerful and autocratic Washington, this is still a union of 50 states.

Happily, that allows the various states to experiment with policy, particularly with regard to taxes.

So, while Washington continues its unprecedented borrowing and spending spree without signs of slowing, governors and legislatures are still free to find their own way.

A couple of governors, for instance – in Louisiana and Nebraska – have called for ending their states’ income taxes. And in many other ways, states are looking for ways to attract more business and economic development.

It’s notable that they’re not doing it by spending or taxing more, as is Washington’s way, but by eyeing strategic tax cuts and other incentives.

Washington could learn a lesson from them, if it wasn’t so busy trying to run our lives and telling us how things are going to be.

Already, seven states have no income tax: Texas, Florida, Washington, Alaska, Nevada, South Dakota and Wyoming.

As Reuters news agency notes, the freedom of 50 states to chart their own destinies allows them “to test long-debated tax ideas.”

In fact, Washington is about the only place where innovation and reform aren’t being seriously discussed. That’s not just a sad state of affairs, but it also likely puts a drag on the national economy.

“When it comes to getting pro-growth tax reform done this year, the only real opportunities are at the state level,” Reuters quoted Patrick Gleason, director of state affairs for Americans for Tax Reform.

Liberals worry that such tax changes may hurt the lower and middle classes. If so, states will have to adjust accordingly. More likely, however, is a scenario in which certain states grow economically faster than others, rising the tide for all boats.

A more realistic concern is that less forward-thinking states will continue on their current path – which includes public pensions and benefits that may ultimately consume their budgets – and that they will someday go to Washington for bailouts. That would mean that more responsible, well-managed states would be asked to subsidize the errors and lack of vision of other states.

Taking money from one state’s taxpayers and giving it to another’s – isn’t that taxation without representation?

That should not be allowed to happen. If we could wave a wand to make Washington more functional – well, first we’d have them balance the budget and stop regulating us to death. And we’d have congressmen go home after a couple terms. But then we’d have them pass a law saying no states can be forced to bail out other states for having created their own messes.

States are competing in the marketplace of ideas.

Let them.

Comments (23) Add comment
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justthefacts 01/21/13 - 11:29 am
Wrong argument

We continue to argue about taxes when spending is the issue. If gov't took it all, it wouldn't get us out of the pickle. The tax issue is only used by Obama because it is a perfect way to further divide the nation by stoking jealousy and envy.

dahreese 01/21/13 - 11:50 am
I can't say, Angela. My post

I can't say, Angela.

My post has been pulled. Apparently free ideas are a threat to a free market ecconomy.

Sean Moores
Sean Moores 01/21/13 - 12:00 pm
Check your email

Dahreese. Check your email.

dichotomy 01/21/13 - 01:07 pm
Techfan......."That was

Techfan......."That was Texas, one of the states without an income tax. "

What's your point Techfan. Georgia has most of those taxes too. They don't just have income and local option taxes. They have most of those other taxes just like Texas. We have boat and motor taxes, automobile taxes, phone line taxes, 911 taxes, and on and on. We've got the same crap Texas has EXCEPT they don't have an income tax. And then there is the old argument that Texas has oil....well so what, Georgia has Kaolin.

And why is it that everyone who argues that a sales tax makes the poor pay a higher percentage of their income than the rich is never worried when an income tax makes the rich pay a higher percentage of their income than the poor. It's just as unfair and unequal for them as it would be for you.

I do not see anything that says taxes should be progressive. I think when our founders decided that we ALL needed to pay some taxes to support this fine federal government we have that they figured everyone should be putting something in the bucket. We are already WAY out of whack on that one. The rich are the ones being screwed in this deal and a flat percentage tax or a sales tax would spread the responsibilty around just like it should be.

Time for the so called "poor" to who are driving cars, talking on cellphones, feeding themselves at fast food joints, and watching flat screen TVs to pay THEIR FAIR SHARE for once.

carcraft 01/21/13 - 02:14 pm
It is funny to me that any

It is funny to me that any suggestion other than voting yourself into some one else's pocket book drives the left crazy.

gargoyle 01/21/13 - 07:27 pm
Seems that to the progessives

Seems that to the progessives suggesting a decrease in taxes brings out the fangs . How about a new mantra for the left " Change made with other peoples dimes "

KSL 01/21/13 - 08:38 pm

Good one.

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