State revenue ‘surpluses’ as state economies improve and tax cuts
Via Truthout this article points us to a trend in some states that instead of ‘restoring’ state government funding for services such as teachers, firefighters, and police, tax cuts are implemented to “establish a different spending baseline from 2008” or that “a policy of tax cuts will foster economic growth to enhance revenue”.
… state income and sales taxes, which were quick to decline during the recession, have also improved relatively quickly in the recovery. According to the Census Bureau, state revenues were beginning to improve by the middle of 2010 and continued to rise last year. Rising revenues have meant that at least 25 states, including Kansas, are projected to finish their current fiscal year (ending in June) with a budget surplus, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Now that states do have a choice about their spending priorities, the question in state legislatures around the country has been, “What to do with the surplus?”
Is that a serious question? If the choice is between a first rate educational system state wide and, on the other hand, a continuation or increase in state tax reductions guess which wins. With low state taxes comes an ability to send one’s children to private school so crap public schools don’t matter, to the wealthier residents that is. On the other hand, if state wide tax levels are reduced than local school taxes can be increased in order to allow those communities that can afford to to raise the quality of their public schools. That’s certainly the smarter move for wealthy communities since their school taxes will be deductible in their federal tax calculations. Private school tuition is too regressive for the wealthier citizen. It can’t be deducted from taxable income.
No matter how many times you repeat “more tax dollars = better education” that pig of a canard still won’t fly. Although, Goebbel’s would be impressed by your persistance.
In cases where state taxes have been temporarily increased, I think it makes perfect sense to go back to the baseline rates. “Yo Tax Cuts” isn’t much of a policy, but rates intended to close budget holes that are no longer necessary should be rolled back.
And no matter how often you semd up the derrigible of absurdity that less revenue is inconsequential to the quality of an educational system the float is still accomplished by hot air. It is not by accident that public school systems are funded within each locality with the states sending to each locality the bare subsistence amount required to open the doors and dust off the seats. Less funding has led to less variation in subject matter (no art, no music, no remediation,etc.), larger class sizes, pathetically low (by professional standards) teacher salaries and aging and inadequate text books.
While I understand your concern Jack, it apparently is quite serious. Look to Kansas, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia, NJ, Virginia…..other states. There are differences in responses. Some states are keeping money but increasing privatization.
I think to follow the effects of this experiment is worthwhile. It apparently is not going to be nuanced at all…I am wondering in two years or so how the question will be answered in addition. But this is an election year as well, and the questions tend to be answered in single sentences
Michigan taxpayers are tired of cronyism, incompetence, corruption and fraud. Some by both parties, most of the fraud by downstate Democrats. The Obama administration formed a large task force to help the US Attorney indict and convict the large number of corrupt Democrats in Wayne County (there are very few elected Republicans in Wayne County).
When a (Democratic) Governor appointed a receiver for the Detroit Public Schools the financial records were a mess, but an estimate was that $400m has just gone down a rabbit hole.
Michigan was prosperous from about 1942 until the mid-90s. both the private and public sectors benefited, and taxpayers were used and abused. Propsperity is gone, businesses and workers have moved away, and the cow has been just about milked dry.
No question local and state funding can be mismanged or, graphicaly, stolen.
Maybe the sarcastic tone of my comment didn’t transfer well to a printed page. My point is that until the people make greater demands on their elected officials they are going to be screwed over at every turn. I’m not suggesting that less taxation is the wise choice. I’m noting that more taxation is beiing described as not politically correct. When people have to start paying rent for the school house they may begin to understand that there is no representation without taxation.
“Michigan taxpayers are tired of cronyism, incompetence, corruption and fraud.”
Cronyism, corruption and fraud are all prosecutable offenses. A state’s AG can put the perpetrators in jail and out of office. Incompetence is the choice of in incompetent electorate. Unfortunately the rest have to live with that choice. A Democratic governor and President took action. What the Michigan voters are left with is now up to them. The untoward behavior of previous government officials is not a rationale for the discontinuance of goverenment. The voters have to make more intelligent choices. That’s asking a lot in this illiterate age in which propagandists parade as jouranlists on TV and in print.