There is now discussion about new taxes to help offset some of the budget shortfall that is projected for the state’s 2012-2013 budget.
Not too many years ago we had plenty of revenue from existing sources. The legislators and citizens saw this as an opportunity to create and fund new programs. Government spending grew much faster than inflation. We certainly didn’t want a multibillion-dollar savings account, so we spent it.
Now the economy is in the tank, and all of that money is gone. If we approve new taxes, is the Legislature going to put a firm end date on them or is this just going to be more money for them to fund programs with once the economy improves? History tells us that we seldom see taxes go down.
As soon as the economy improves there will be calls to reinstate all of the funding that has been cut. Some of these programs and jobs should be funded again, but some of the cuts should remain. Expenditures should be strictly limited to grow no faster than inflation.
We need to do a better job of managing state funds and limiting the growth of government jobs. Private sector jobs create revenue for the state government. Government jobs have to be paid for by the taxes we pay.
This is a painful time for many families and businesses. It will get better, but it will take time. I hope we learn from what we are experiencing and don’t repeat our mistakes.