Wyoming Liberty Group
Over the last couple of weeks I have pushed strongly on the need for major reforms to the Wyoming economy. Specifically, our state lawmakers and our governor must focus on two problems, which basically are communicating vessels and soluble only when addressed together:
- The looming deficit in the state budget, which is really a structural deficit unmasked by deflating minerals prices; and
- Our big government sector, with high levels of welfare-state spending and large ranks of state and - especially - local government employees.
2016 is just around the corner. It looks like this is going to be an exciting election year.
Well, maybe not across the board. The Democrat field of presidential candidates is centered around a party-endorsed candidate. Democrat primary voters can vote for whoever they want, so long as the person they vote for is Hillary Clinton. Her inevitability is even more pronounced than Mitt Romney's GOP nomination was in 2012.
Senator Rand Paul has proposed a system of economic freedom zones to revitalize areas of the United States that are struggling with the toughest economic challenges. This is an intriguing idea that deserves a serious debate. The main question is, obviously: does he have the right recipe?
Are you tired of high taxes? Then move to Liberland.
A self-professed Libertarian politician from the Czech Republic says he has created a new, sovereign country on the Croatian-Serbia border where citizens decide their own tax burden, property and individual rights are respected and the national motto is "Live and Let Live." Vít Jedlička, a member of the Conservative Party of Free Citizens, recently appointed himself president of the Free Republic of Liberland, a “micronation,” located on the banks of the Danube River in a 2.7-square-mile patch of what he says is unclaimed territory. Jedlička says neither neighboring nation claimed the land when they established their borders following the breakup of Yugoslavia, and claims international law allows his claim.
The 2015 legislative session created a number of measures that put taxpayers into the risky business of supporting some private companies. It also, in contrast, set up the Minerals Tax Task Force that could turn this corporate welfare trend around. The job of the task force is to study and make recommendations for a fair, viable and simplified system of valuation and taxation for minerals. A lower, simpler tax system that treats each taxpayer equitably is preferable to government picking winners for special handouts while making losers out of taxpayers.
In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on April 10 Wayne Hoffman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation expressed concerns over states' dependency on federal funds. It is refreshing to see that this topic is gaining interest among free-market think tanks, although Hoffman is a bit late to the party; my first article on the subject was published by the Heritage Foundation seven years ago.
On Monday I mentioned that the Alaska state government is fighting a deep hole in their state's General Fund: after having ignored increasingly prominent signals of the state's finances being unsustainable, legislators in Juneau have now been forced to put together a panic-driven spending-cut package equal to seven percent of the General Fund.