Do you hear that knocking at your door? Itâ€™s the taxman, and he wants more money. Pay up.Â Itâ€™s bad enough that appraisal creep and unrestrained spending is taking a bigger and bigger bite out of taxpayersâ€™ take-home pay, but now comes word that local governments want an even bigger bite out of your bank account.
Michael Quinn Sullivan
Josef Stalin and Vladimir Lenin would be proud of their ideological progeny at the San Antonio Express-News. The long-dead communists, whose utopian Soviet state collapsed in disrepute and bankruptcy after an 80-year experiment in tyranny, Â focused on the collective good (as they defined it) outweighing any claim of individual liberty or economic prosperity.
Well, the San Antonio Express-News is opposed a proposed city â€œroll-backâ€ of property taxes (even though it is less than 1 percent). They say that â€œindividuals benefit from the collective goodâ€ (a line no doubt from their Karl Marx quote-of-the-day calendar), and the collective good is defined as growing government to consume every resource possible.
Fighting tax-and-spendoholics is like playing Wack-A-Mole at the arcade. You knock them down, only to find they pop right back up. The lesson? We have to move faster and hit harder.
Last legislative session, taxpayers were successful in stopping tax-and-spendoholics from increasing the taxes to fund further boondoggle spending on more light-rail and other mass transit pork (the only thing â€œmassâ€ is the cost â€“ mass transit fails to actually relieve congestion, dollar for dollar). But, hey, those trains are fun at Disney World…
State Sen. John Carona says in todayâ€™s Dallas Morning News that Texas must â€œstop the diversion of gas tax funds for other uses.â€ Thatâ€™s welcome news. While the stateâ€™s constitution currently requires transportation funds to be used for transportation expenses, â€œtransportationâ€ is a constantly-expending term.
According to the Morning News, almost a third of Texasâ€™ gasoline tax revenues for transportation have been â€œdivertedâ€ away from true transportation projects.
So you think youâ€™re getting tax relief? If you live in Houston, chances are you are not. The school district there are doing everything they can to reach into your familyâ€™s pocket-book and exact every last dollar they can.
Bad ideas are running rampant in Beantown. I've come to Boston for the National Conference of State Legislators. It should be called the National Conference for Growing Government. By and large, NCSL is a cheerleading session for thoseÂ legislators, bureaucrats, rent-seekers and assorted hangers-on looking to grow the size and scope of government.
The first panel discussion I attended was illustrative: it was called "Financing State Government in a No New Taxes World."
Advocates of big government rarely let facts get in the way of their pursuit of growing budgets. Such is the case with Waco Tribune-Herald editor John Young, whose weekly column is very often devoted to the worship of government (of the activist variety) and the damnation of conservative, free market principles.
The headline in today's Houston Chronicle says it all: City union asks for property tax relief. My heart leapt for joy: Bureaucrats are now joining the call for tax relief!
But then I read the article… They don't want property tax relief for all taxpayers, only for government employees. Acting in true-to-bureaucratic form, the city employee union there is looking for a new taxpayer-funded program that would pay the property taxes of city employees. The audacity almost makes the head spin.
The Houston Chronicle reported over the weekend that medical professionals are skeptical that the legislature's new $3 billion "cancer fund" will accomplish much more than spend $3 billion of the taxpayers' money.
But, don't worry, it was created with the best of intentions… State Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston), summed it up nicely in her quote to the Chronicle that "she'd â€˜like to sit back and tell my grandchildren I had something to do with the cure.' "
An elected official (a Republican, no less) told me yesterday he doesn't mind paying taxes because it is "the price of freedom." His doe-eyed statement was wrong on a great many levels, practical and philosophical. First and foremost, freedom's price has beenÂ paid — again and again — by the blood of patriots on battlefields near and far, not collected by revenue agents.