Sorry for the third story in a row on taxes, but it is budget season again in our state and local legislatures. Rather than cutting spending, our beloved elected officials are reaching out with their prying fingers to snatch anoter dollar or two from our pockets. The problem with this is that local tax increases are at least as dangerous to our economic recovery as tax hikes at the federal level. But while Congress seems to have gone into complete lock-down mode, local legislatures are already putting new taxes to work. These taxes are nibbling away at the purchasing power of American families. The Arkansas Times reports on the latest example, where local government and their agencies have practically put taxpayers under siege:
The generosity of Pulaski County voters is being severely tested these days. Little Rock voters in September approved a one-cent increase in the city sales tax. North Little Rock residents were voting on a one-cent sales tax increase Tuesday; the results were not known when the Arkansas Times went to press. The Central Arkansas Library System plans to ask Little Rock voters for additional property-tax support, probably in March. (North Little Rock has its own library.) The North Little Rock School District plans to ask for a millage increase in February. And a new player may enter the tax arena. Pulaski Technical College in North Little Rock is seriously considering whether to ask for county-wide property-tax support. It has no local tax support now.
I commented on the other Arkansas tax hikes in October. I have also reported on proposed tax increases in Washington and the tax hiker’s remorse that struck in Illinois after their monstrous income tax increase less than a year ago.
If every level of government increases its taxation by one percentage point, it does not look like much at each individual level. But tally it up and the middle class is being squeezed: if city, county, school district, state and federal governments all raise taxes by that one percentage point, it adds up to five percentage points in total. You have to get a raise from your employer that is almost twice what people normally get in order to not lose purchasing power from that barrage of new taxes.
It is about time we refocus government on its essential functions: protection of life, liberty and property. Everything else can and should be run by the private sector.