While state and local leaders are crying about service cuts and tax increases to make up for what they call historic revenue declines, latest data for 2009 show they collected $25 billion more than in 2006.
By Frank Keegan National Editor
It must have been a horrible year for state and local governments in 2006. Right?
Governors, legislators, mayors and school boards must have faced dire choices then because diminished tax revenues forced them to furlough and lay off dedicated employees, cut essential services, loosen sociopaths upon the public, starve children and push desperately poor old folks out into the cold.
Doesn’t everybody remember the screaming headlines from those terrible dark days back in 2006? No?
That’s because there were not any. Generally, 2006 was considered to be a great year by state and local officials. Boom is how they now refer to that glorious time.
They squeezed $80 billion, 7 percent, more out of us than in 2005 even though the Gross Domestic Product increased only 2.7 percent.
Guess what? 2009 was an even better year. State and local governments took almost $25 billion MORE out of taxpayers’ pockets in 2009 than 2006, according to latest U.S. Census data.
Say what? So why now are leaders from virtually every state screeching about a revenue crisis? Why are citizens being bludgeoned into accepting even more tax increases and service reductions?
The answer given by politicians is they are dealing with “structural” deficits, as if those are some kind of natural phenomena like plate tectonics.
In fact, the people now lamenting structural deficits are the very people who structured them.
As tax revenues soared to record levels, they went on a spending binge while paying nothing down on long-term debt.
For the four years ending in 2009 they taxed us $429 billion more than in the entire prior year. That is equal to 38 percent of one year’s taxes.
The total take went up $146 billion in 2007 and $178 billion in 2008.
No catastrophic tax revenue declines they invoke from the Great Recession can be true when the numbers show the reality was a catastrophic spending increase.
GDP increased only about 21 percent in a decade of state and local leaders increasing taxes 52 percent.
After this year’s elections when politicians begin the drumbeat for tax increases, let us remind them of the campaign pledges they made. Tell them they already are taking too much of our money.
This is not a Republican thing or a Democratic thing. It’s not about liberal or conservative.
They all were in on it.
Let’s tell them we will take the level of government service we got in 2006, a year they claimed the revenue was just fine.