"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Excessive Tax Haul Belongs to the People

July 23rd, 2007 by mopns · No Comments

By John Elliott

I find it enlightening to see how quickly letter and editorial writers across Missouri are to push our elected leaders to return to the failed, antiquated policy of excessive spending as the sole means for solving problems. It seems to me that the government can never be satiated, that it can never spend enough of our tax dollars.

But as citizens and taxpayers, we should be asking, “When is enough, enough?” For bureaucrats and politicians, maybe that point of saturation does not exist. And as the people footing the bill for their frivolous spending, perhaps is up to us to determine that enough is finally enough.

For example, just three years ago, our state had been spent into the type of precarious situation that tax-and-spend liberalism always gets citizens into: a billion dollar operating deficit, employers fleeing Missouri by the hundreds and out-of-control liberal trial attorneys salivating to make millions of dollars at the expense of small business owners.

Today, however, Missouri is better off for the prudent budgeting policies of Gov. Matt Blunt. Much like putting your own family on a healthy, well-planned budget, we must recognize that such fiscal responsibility often elicits difficult choices in order to reach sound and sustainable long-term goals.

With that in mind, recent letters to the editor and editorials demanding that Governor Blunt utilize our recent budget surplus to “reinstate” the costly and unsustainable Medicaid system of three years ago makes me wonder why some in this state are content to let the government spend us into an uncontrollable amount of debt.

Hard-working citizens know that it’s unwise to spend all of their money immediately after a good year. We know that government revenue goes up and down. When government collects more money from the people than it needs, it should return that over-collection of taxes back to the citizens who paid them.

Part of the reason Missouri got into a financial pickle was from the unsustainable government growth of the late 1990s when, every year, the government spent every last dime of excess revenue it received. As a result, when taxpayers suffered tough economic times from 2002 to 2005, liberals offered tax increases instead of forcing bureaucrats to only spend within a budget we could all afford.

This time, instead of conceding to the big spenders who seek to reinstate failed, archaic programs, we should be discussing when the government is finally going to start refunding the overcollected taxes to the hard-working citizens of Missouri who earned it in the first place.

When it comes to money, the default position of liberals is to trust the judgment of government bureaucrats over the common sense of citizens. The Adam Smith Foundation encourages lawmakers to realize the current budget surplus is a misnomer. Rather, the government collected too much in taxes, and as such, these funds belong to the people.

To fairly address this excess, the government should either refund the $320 million to taxpayers or pass comprehensive tax cuts for all Missourians.

John Elliott is president of the Adam Smith Foundation (www.AdamSmithFoundation.org) in Jefferson City, Mo.

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Tags: Adam Smith Foundation · MO Economy

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