December 15, 2009

The Fight Moves Outward

Justin Katz

The General Assembly will no doubt search for tricks and methods of denial, but the state is going to have to continue cutting its budget, and according to the Providence Business News, Governor Carcieri is looking toward the cities and towns:

The state budget would be balanced by cuts in spending for local education, aid to cities and towns, one-time land sales that include the Veterans Memorial Auditorium and other savings, under a plan Gov. Donald L. Carcieri was expected to submit on Tuesday.

The amount in reimbursements for vehicle excise taxes that the state would keep for its own use would go up to $65.1 million (having previously been about half that, as I recall). School districts would also see a $41 million cut, offset in part by the end of cost-of-living adjustments for pensions.

In general, sending the fight out to the cities and towns is a positive development, from a taxpayer perspective, because it's easier for engaged residents to rally against entrenched forces at that level. The missing components, however, are statewide regulations and mandates, which limit what municipalities can do and which restrict economic activity.

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My take is that if a mandate is unfunded then it should be ignored. Let the state or federal government try to enforce their mandates with the towns. There's an old saying; "You can't get blood out of a stone." that applies here. The town of N Kingstown certainly isn't getting another penny in taxes out of me.

I type this as I'm looking at a bill from the IRS for $279 because I filed late (due to not having the money to pay), and a form from Newport that tells me how to figure out how much to pay the town for the privilege of owning the tools that allow me to stay in business. The upshot is that I'm trying to figure out how to close down my business without screwing any of my clients (and sending a screw you to the various governments.

I think we may be a bit overtaxed in this state (and country).

Posted by: Andy B at December 15, 2009 11:26 AM
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