Squeezing local governments

  • Article by: By Robert Zahradnik
  • Updated: June 11, 2012 - 10:33 AM

The economic fates of state and local governments - and their ability to maintain quality services - often are intertwined.

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hrearden57Jun. 11, 1211:03 AM

Is it important that we are $15 trillion in debt? That the Euro is collapsing? Greece, Spain, Italy face massive problem due to too much spending?

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SwiftBoatJun. 11, 1211:10 AM

Greece is the word............

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harrisstevenJun. 11, 1211:51 AM

We should just start building more stadiums for the sports fans. From what I hear, all those jobs and spending and fun and notoriety will bring peace and prosperity everywhere!!

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arspartzJun. 11, 1212:21 PM

Local taxes should support local projects. It's an easy concept. Quality of life is expensive to maintain. People outside of your city should not be required to support your desires and whims. If your local taxes are too high, either elect someone locally who will lower taxes or move somewhere with lower taxes. BTW: There are two ways to lower taxes, and one does not involve cutting services -- it's called allowing growth.

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mcjoe1Jun. 11, 1212:27 PM

But conservatives and libertarians insist that doing less with less is the path to prosperity. The only issue is that there is no example in modern history of a government that's prospered under reduced taxes and services. The places with the highest quality of life are usually some of the highest taxed. The only people that will prosper under a "less with less" approach will be uber-wealthy Americans along with India and China when they surpass our education and technology.

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buzzard23Jun. 11, 1212:28 PM

Cities and states do not fund anything at all. They do not have any money. TAXPAYERS fund everything! Soooo...when I have to send taxes to the Feds, and they appropriate to my state, who approprates to my county, who then gives some of the money to my city, how much of my original tax is left? I bet $1 of Fed taxes that finally gets back to my city ends up being a LOT less than $1. That isn't right. There should be a direct link between the tax and the program the $$$$$$ support. Fed taxes should fund Fed programs like National Parks, Social Security, Supreme Court, etc. State taxes should fund State highways and social programs, city taxes should support the city services. Having multiple taxing authorities chasing each other over my tax $$$$ is not only inefficient, it is stupid.

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unionsrockJun. 11, 1212:30 PM

Seriously, the federal, state, and local taxing authorities need to get their act together.

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dennisleeJun. 11, 1212:57 PM

When property values were rising, the cities and school districts were more that happy to assign the tax rates as a percentage of your assessed home value and automatically get a free tax raise every year when your assessed value increased. Now that most of us have seen the single largest asset we own lose something like a third of its value, all of a sudden these local tax bodies are claiming that the our property taxes are no longer tied to our property values. The value of my home keeps dropping, my income is barely rising if at all, but my property taxes just keep going up. Would anybody be willing to bet that when the property values start to recover that these tax bodies will not immediately switch back to that mills per assessed value bandwagon again?

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mn2niceJun. 11, 12 1:25 PM

Society has become schizophrenic, because we all want our various levels of government to provide us with various services, services that greatly improve our qulaity of life when compared to yesteryear. Yet we don't want to pay for it, we complain loudly and often about how much taxes we pay and how often we pay them, and when it comes to providing people benefits because people have paid into a system which guarantees those benefits after x number of years, we are unhappy about that, except when it pertains to us. Then there are others of us who want to shrink the size of government, so that it resembles little, if anything of what it is today, but resembles more of what it did in the year 1775. Which wasn't much. Life was a bit more difficult and complicated then too. No running, clean water. No electricity. No cars. No roads. No sanitary systems. Not much of anything, really. There were also few, if any taxes. But hey, government WAS a whole lot smaller. Imagine for a second what this country would look like if everything were privatized, you know, based on that wonderful system we all idolize, CAPITALISM. Want clean water? No problem, so long as you are willing to pay the market price. Want good schools your kids can go to, no problem, but the price you have to pay just went up due to market fluctuations. Want good roads, great, pay the market price, and bye the way, you have to pay more to drive on a road that is not full of potholes, and you have to pay even more to drive in the fast lane. Want the fire department to come to your house to put out the fire your kids started, playing with matches, whip out that credit card, because they won't come until you pay up front. Oops, I forgot, there were no credit cards back then. Pay with cash, up front. Opps, a bit low on cash today? Sorry. You loose. Get my drift? Is that what people really want? God, I hope not.

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mn2niceJun. 11, 12 2:24 PM

here are a few more examples......We will also get rid of health care altogether. No Medicare, no Medicaid, no health insurance at all. That would save us a huge bundle. We won't maintain the roads anymore either. You want us to plow the roads after it snows? Sorry, we don't do that anymore. It costs too much. You want us to provide emergency services after a disaster? Sorry, we will save billions by letting everyone fend for themselves. There are no police officers anymore either. It costs us too much. Now, everyone carries a sidearm and we have reverted to 1800's style justice. Civil rights? They are gone now too, because it cost us too much to enforce the laws. Environmental protection? That too. The Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, OSHA, and numerous other agencies that keep business from overruning us all, gone. Think of what that would do to the average person. It would be utter chaos! ----------- I am being a little more than silly here, I know, because it is unlikely we would be foolish enough to do any of that, right, but that is essentially what we would be facing if government were reduced in size to just 50 percent of what it is now, and I don't think anyone wants that. I hate taxes as much as the next person, but I also realize in the modern age they are a necessity of life in more ways than I can count. The Republican, narrow-minded focus on taxes as the root of all evil, if actually passed into law, would cripple this country in ways none of us can imagine. It is the taxes we pay that pay for all the things our government, city, county, state, and federal, do for us as individuals and as a nation of people. Sensible taxation is a necessity of modern life. We have become part of a global economy we cannot extricate ourselves from, but must learn to live within, or we are surely doomed. In the last 25 years this country has fallen off its horse, and has forgotten how to get back on it. We better learn how, and PDQ! If we want to compete in the global market we must reinvest in our nation or we will continue to be just mediocre. The US is 30th in the world in its ability to educate its populace. 30th! That's according to the Program for International Assessment, which tests pupils in over 70 countires. We cannot simply lower spending, but must increase revenue along with a reduction in spending to solve our financial mess.

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