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September 30, 2004

Why do tax cuts have to be 'paid for?'

Whenever believers in limited government propose tax cuts, believers of bigger government immediately shriek the 'tax cuts' have to be "paid for" almost as if it's the government's money. On Monday, the editors of the Las Vegas Review-Journal talk about President Bush's tax cuts. More importantly, however, they demolish the arguments that tax cuts have to be "paid for," saying, "This notion that tax cuts must be 'paid for' is an interesting one. It stems from an underlying presumption that the amount of our paychecks currently seized by the federal government actually 'belongs' to the federal government. Therefore, this thinking goes, such cuts must be 'paid for,' or restored, by anyone who reduces the amount of loot currently flowing through that mighty pipeline that sucks earnings from our little individual bank accounts and pours them into the bottomless vaults of Washington." After noting the tax-and-spenders will link the tax cuts to the current growth of the deficit, the editorial says, "Needless to say, tax cuts don't create debt. Only excessive spending can cause debt." As the editorial rightly notes, "Federal tax receipts have continued to grow by leaps and bounds every year." What it gets down to is the politicians can't control their urge to spend our money.

September 28, 2004

The Rewards of Working for the Government

Oh, those poor government workers, eh. Well, not according to a reccent analysis by two analysts at Washington State's Evergreen Freedom Foundation. Their analysis of statistics from the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis shows selecting government employment can be in most cases an advantageous career choice. For example, in the entire United State, the average government job pays $47,365 compared to the average private sector job, which pays $40,286. In Washington state, the difference is somewhat less ($48,719 public sector versus $$42,297 private sector). Only in King County, which includes Seattle, was the pay greater in the private secture when compared to government jobs. The difference in Kitsap County (Bremerton) was the starkest with the average government job paying $62,293 while private sector jobs paid an average of $27,428. According to the analysis, "Private-sector wages are based in part on the level of services consumers receive when making purchases rather than the ability of an employer to obtain mandatory "contributions" from potential customers, as is the case ith the government's ability to tax."

September 24, 2004

They muck it up, but the taxpayers pay for it

The 2004 General Assembly was called back into special session in July to reinstate an exemption to Virginia's day of rest law it inadvertently deleted. The latest snag in legislation passed earlier this year involves Virginians' favorite tax, the car tax. Today's Virginian Pilot reports that several Hampton Roads cities "face budget shortfalls in 2006 totaling almost $100 million because of a glitch in the state's plan for reimbursing localities for car tax revenues." Seems that 20 or more years ago, some cities and a few counties in southeast Virginia started billing the car tax in the spring. In drafting this year's state budget, legislators used an accounting maneuver to "free up" about $250 million for public education by deferring the state's car-tax reimbursements until after July 1, 2006. Not surprisingly, the paper reports, "Many lawmakers are unaware of the problem they have created." The problem for the 2005 General Assembly, though, is that several Northern Virginia legislators have plans to use much if not all all of that money for transportation, according to the newspaper.

September 23, 2004

It's Not Just Jacques Chirac Who Wants Your Money

Yesterday's post noted that French leader Jacques Chirac wants to reach into your pockets. Richard Rahn, writing in today's Washington Times, says that numerous international "organizations have gone well beyond their original mandates or try to exercise powers over institutions who neither directly or indirectly voted to be so regulated." For example, "The U.N. has proposed an International Tax Organization to limit tax competition among countries and enable the U.N. to tax directly without going through national governments." Rahn says that Founding Father James Madison warned of such dangers more than two centuries ago.

September 22, 2004

French Leader Wants Your Money, Too

In tax news today, "French President Jacques Chirac has repeated his call for an international tax aimed at reducing global poverty," adding that he "has been a long-standing advocate of a worldwidetax, and earlier this year appointed a panel of experts . . . to examine the issue." It is truly amazing how generous people can be when it's not their money they want to spend.

September 10, 2004

Virginia Votors to Get Final Say on Pols' Tax Votes

Earlier this year, 17 Republican delegates in the General Assembly decided to side with Governor Mark Warner (D), Democratic delegates, and Senator John Chichester (R) and his RINO cronies in the Senate to pass the largest tax increase in Virignia history. In today's Washington Times, "Anti-tax candidates from across Virginia are stepping forward to try to unseat Republican legislators who broke ranks to vote earlier this year for the largest increase in state history." The paper identified several anti-tax Republicans who plan to challenge incumbents who voted to raise taxes. Paul Jost, chairman of the Virginia Club for Growth, said "There's certainly a lot of interest in anti-tax candidates."

September 09, 2004

Arlington Taxpayers Plundered of $39,000 for a "Fresh, Hip, Modern Feel"

If anyone needs further proof that Arlington taxpayers put far too much money into the hands of the Arlington County Board, the evidence was provided last month when the August 26 Arlington Sun-Gazette revealed that county bureaucrats spent $39,000 for the new county logo. Even worse, a poll reported in the prior week's Arlington Sun-Gazette found that over 81% of those surveyed (reportedly more than 1,000 according to the Washington Post) "can't stand the new logo." In an editorial, the paper also noted that one astute Arlington resident compared the logo to "the Oscar the Grouch trashcan." The paper then gave a "thumbs down" this month to an Arlington bureaucrat who opined "the new logo was a good thing because it suggested that there aren't any real problems in the county." The Washington Post also reported on this county boondoggle, noting that one Board member thought it looked like a 'melting portico,' and reported, "County officials were aiming for a fresh, hip, modern feel." Last March, ACTA's president first brought the logo to the Board's and public's attention during 'public comment' when he noted that 'talking points' produced by county management instructed employees to tell citizens the logo came at no cost.

September 04, 2004

You Mean We Have to Pay the Tuition?

That's exactly what seemed to be the opinion of some students at one state university in Virgnia, according to a story in today's Virginian-Pilot, which said, "More than 1,400 Norfolk State University students -- more than one-fifth of the student body -- were kicked out of classes this week because they hadn't yet paid last year's tuition or made plans to pay this year's bills. University officials say the new policy is standard at colleges and is in response to a financial problem that the state's auditor highlighted in a presentation to Norfolk State board members Friday. As of mid-2003, NSU had failed to collect $6.8 million in tuition revenue. Although school officials say it's a new policy, the auditor says it's not a new problem, saying, "Over the last several years, that situation has been deteriorating." Guess when taxpayers are footing most of the bill, collection of tuition isn't a priority.

September 03, 2004

Fallout from Passing Virginia's Largest Tax Increase

In yesterday's National Review Online, John J. Miller described how Delegate Thelma Drake (R) was selected by Republicans in Virginia's 2nd Congressional district to succeed Congressman Ed Schrock who chose not to run for reelection after an accusation against the Congressman. The choice was between Delegate Drake and Senator Ken Stolle (R), which, according to the Washington Post, were the two 'leading candidates.' The difference between them was that "Drake was a consistent opponent of higher taxes." Stolle, on the other hand, had supported "a tax hike four times as large." Miller cited an e-mail submitted in support of Drake in which Peter Ferrara of the Virginia Club for Growth wrote, "Surely we can all recognize that because of what Stolle did in the last session nominating him now for Congress would be highly controversial at the grassroots and divide the party throwing the seat into jeopardy."

September 02, 2004

What Does $2.8 Million of Pork in Arlington County Look Like?

Every year, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) looks through Congressional appropriation bills, and identifies projects it labels as 'pork.' Essentially, pork projects don't go through the ordinary appropriation process, but are placed there at the request of legislators. Annually, CAGW collects the 'pork' projects into a pig book. CAGW's 2003 Pig Book lists nine projects for Arlington County. They include $867,000 to "obtain mobile data terminals and upgrade its records management system" to $180,000 for Vanguard Services United to renovate and improve its facilities, which is labeled an "economic develoment initiative." For the complete list, click-on the Pig Book, select Virginia, and type in 'Arlington' as the keyword.

September 01, 2004

Your Taxes Went Up Today, but You "won't be much affected"

Regular visitors to Growls read a lot about the bipartisan handiwork of Governor Mark Warner (D) and the GOP-controlled General Assembly in raising Virginians' taxes. Most of those taxes kick-in today. Today's Washington Times and Washington Post (added 9/2/04) include rather detailed laundry list of those increases. Not to worry, though, says Delegate Preston Bryant (R), who was one of the 17 GOP delegates who turned their backs on anti-tax, limited government Virginians. The paper quotes Delegate Bryant saying, "Before the tax-reform package, Virginia had the second-lowest sales tax in the nation, and after it, we still have the second-lowest . . . And the part of the tax-reform story that is not properly focused on is that there are a lot of tax cuts." I guess the $1.4 billion increase in taxes is being paid by our fairy godmothers.