Wyoming Liberty Group
Those calling for smaller, less wasteful and more accountable government understand that government must fund its core functions with some tax or another. But how do we prevent government from using excess tax revenue to spread its dead hand to activities better provided by the private sector? The recent renewal of the optional one-cent tax in Natrona county shows this may be neigh impossible unless citizens wake up to the problem. Perhaps it is time to reform the tax system so tax revenue is dedicated to core government functions and all other activities covered by the spreading waistline of government be paid for—in full—by user fees.
In all its modesty, the October report from the Consensus Revenue Estimating Group (CREG) sends a stark warning signal to our state legislators.
Tax revenue is about to get tight, and it would be foolish to consider new spending. If anything, the state legislature should turn its attention to long-term, structural spending cuts.
One of the most common trends in public economics is the growth in government. It has many explanations that range from public choice theory to the ideological desire to expand the welfare state. In between, there is the simple fact that our elected officials get into a habit of growing government, a habit that is probably as hard to break as gravity itself.
In an editorial from October 24, the Casper Star Tribune attacks alleged wage discrimination. Citing statistics that women in general earn less than men, the newspaper predictably calls for more government intervention as the universal solution. That solution, says the Tribune, would be “fair schedules and paid sick leave so that workers with care giving responsibilities are not unfairly disadvantaged”.
The Laramie County Commissioners voted to put the continuation of the 4 percent lodging tax on the ballot on November 4th. This is a fairly safe tax for commissioners to support as many voters believe out-of-county, if not out-of-state, visitors pay it.
There is, however, no evidence to support this belief. But whether county or state residents are paying the tab or not, the reality is that money is going to fund a government program instead of paying for food, clothing or other travel related services provided by the private sector.
One of the core arguments for government expansion is that there is no other way to reliably help the poor to a better life. This false notion has very deep roots, all the way back to the days when the first elements of the welfare state emerged on European soil. Back then, radical liberals convinced social conservatives that collectivized compassion was the way to go.