Thursday, May 21, 2009

On Scary State Taxes

I rarely talk too much about Pennsylvania state politics because they scare me. Our bloated and continuously corrupted state legislature is an indictment against democracy.

Today's recommendations being pondered by our esteemed state is raising the flat income tax from 3.07% to 4.07%. I have many reasons why I hope this idea is shot down as quickly as the suggestion to ban gay marriage. (ASAP)

1) Pennsylvania has a flat income tax. Any increase is an unjust burden on our poorer residents.
Only 8 states in the country have a flat income tax. 4% of your salary when you make $20,000 / year is a lot more important than when you make $100,000. Of course, in Pennsylvania, a graduated tax would require a change to the state constitution.

2) The Johnstown Flood Tax. If this year, the tax rate is increased to deal with a temporary problem, the tax will never be revoked. That's not a solution; it's merely a way to line state lawmaker's pockets in future years.

3) The reason that Pennsylvania (and every other state) is under budget this year is because people are making less money. And you want to tax them more? Now is the time to dig into a rainy day fund and make some cuts in programs that aren't necessary. How about those mandatory state legislature raises? Or how about some bloat in the legislature? I echo Brian O'Neil's call to reduce our inefficient state government long before increasing taxes on the populace. Or how about they sell all the state liquor stores as an infusion to the budget and privatize the selling of liquor? While they're at it, they can rename the Johnstown Flood tax to something that doesn't mock that tragedy.

1 comment:

Bram Reichbaum said...

I love the valid points of what we know as "conservatism" -- scaling things back, making things more efficient, merging, even selling off extraneous resources. We should pursue those.

But the fact is (as I believe you've come around to) the money has to come from somewhere, and some people are taking advantage of what Pittsburgh has to offer scott free.

Scot free?

At any rate, the economy has bottomed out and is recuperating. Rumors of the Second Great Depression look to have been exaggerated. It wouldn't cripple anybody to ask those who are circumnavigating certain aspects of the social contract to man up.