State, Local Governments Eye Bigger Taxes to Plug Budget Holes
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
While Congress and the White House debate the contents, and necessity, of another relief bill, cash-strapped state and local governments are weighing their own options – including increasing a variety of taxes:
…early evidence suggests the coronavirus could lend at least some new political momentum for long-simmering campaigns to raise fees on a wide array of products and services, including alcohol, tobacco and gaming, said Jared Walczak, a state budget analyst for the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, particularly if those taxes can offset debilitating cuts.
“There’s going to be a sense in which any sectors that look comparatively healthy will be attractive targets for taxation over the next couple of years,” he said.
Hiking specific fees or only certain taxes concentrates the pain and spreads the benefits. That offers some level of political protection, and is a favored tactic of politicians, regardless of party, in tough economic times:
During the Great Recession, some states raised income, sales and other business taxes along with a host of additional fees, according to a report at the time from the CBPP, which said the increases helped cover the costs of surging demand for government services.
What about cutting budgets and reducing government employment? Many state and local governments are doing both (or considering it). But the mantra of many elected officials echoes the sentiment of New York state Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D), who wants to slap higher taxes on some of the nation’s largest technology companies:
“It’s just not possible to cut our way out of this hole,” Gounardes said.
Image Credit: By Jericho [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons