Posted on -

3 Gets Scrutiny

The Commercial Appeal carried a mostly decent story on amendment 3 on November’s ballot. Perhaps it is because it is a joint effort by the CA along with The Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Knoxville News Sentinel and the Tennessean. There seems to be more sanity in this state the farther east you go.

For most clear thinking people, a ban on state income tax is a laudable, intelligent idea. States that ban it do better economically. Just look at booming Texas and Florida. States that have it, like New York and California, flounder with business and lose jobs. They also tend to raise those taxes intermittently, a fact the newspapers don’t mention. We all know how legislators promise no tax increases until they do them.

States that have an income tax – like our federal government – tend to see it as a bottomless source of fun money for politicians. They can use it to please constituents with projects in their areas and they use it to bludgeon residents with a constant refrain of spending helps the poor, don’t you care about them? Then these states never reign in their budgets, but bloat them and call for more taxes.

It’s amusing that the opponents of amendment 3 work under the name “Citizens for Fiscal Sanity” because there is nothing sane about their cause, given the propensities cited in the above paragraphs. It is amusing, too, that they argue illogically that no tax leads to higher taxes. Only in the liberal mindset, I suppose.

Of course the opponents also cite a study, this one by Standard & Poor, that claims no income tax pushes income inequality. Tellingly, we never see the real study, just a synopsis.

Then, the media has to work academia into it because they are the “smart ones.” By the way, have they gotten anything right lately? Dr. John Gnuschke of the U of M says “states that have income taxes have revenues that grow as the economy grows and allow government to respond to the demand for public services.” Yes and that’s the problem. When the economy does well it’s perfectly fine, but in a downturn an unstable state like Illinois or city like Detroit, can’t tax their way out of trouble. There will always be a demand for public services, but how many do we need? I’d like to see many more services, but eventually there is no more free lunch. How about heated streets in the winter to retard ice or lights on the highways to make night driving as easy as day? Where do you draw an end to it? States that work with budget limitations are less likely to lead us into bankruptcy.

All this also shows a lack of respect for the citizen taxpayer. We work within a budget. Why can’t they?

The article ends with a comment by Gov. Haslam. He says “I’m not certain there’s a huge impact because I don’t think there’s gong to be an income tax in Tennessee regardless of whether the amendment passes or not.” That’s a damning with faint praise, isn’t it?

I’d rather make that idea permanent than depend on the whims of politicians or of an electorate. Amendment 3 is a great step forward for our state.