Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Impertinent Observations (tax edition)

As I drove over to have lunch wife my wife yesterday, I listened to The Herd on ESPN Radio. "And just what does that have to do with taxes?" you sensibly ask. The answer is that host Colin Cowherd was discussing the influence local and state taxes have on the willingness of professional athletes to sign with certain franchises. Cowherd, a sports commentator, displayed a far more perceptive grasp of the implications of tax policy than do most politicians.

The results are in on those California budget (for the most part meaning tax increase) referenda. Of the six measures on the ballot, five were defeated by almost two-to-one margins (1A through 1E, see statewide and county level results here). Pointedly, the only one that passed (1F), by an almost three-to-one margin, prohibits pay increases for elected officials during years in which the state is running a deficit (see the Voter Information Guide to the referenda here).

Get used to stories like these. As the predictable outcome of years of profligate spending comes home to roost, governments at the local, state, and federal levels will be hunting for revenue wherever they can find (or extort) it. But, of course, what they probably will not do is fundamentally rethink their spending practices – which is why the voters of the Golden State wisely voted down a package of short-term fixes and why the current blizzard of federal stimulus and bailouts will not work.

Sphere: Related Content


green eyeshade said...

California governor unwittingly missed HIS opportunity?! (Will it happen in other states, too?)

Anonymous said...

to think that governments do not think about spending is ludicrous. Sure I'm biased because I work for a government, but I'm in the middle of all budget and finance discussions... I know they talk about it, and act on it. Government is not just a spending and taxing enterprise, it is a thinking one too.