Eliminate the State Income Tax!
In the 1983 classic film Scarface, the anti-hero Tony Montana (Al Pacino) notes a factual truth, “Then when you get the money, you get the power.” Our federal and state governments are so powerful and dominant in our lives because they possess so much monetary wealth due to taxation and the collection of fees. If we wish to restore the autonomy of local government and our own freedom, we must first take back our money.
We have come to expect that the vast majority of Democrats want to increase taxes and increase the size and scope of government. Historically, Republicans have prided themselves on a commitment to reduce taxes and to reduce the size and scope of government. Our Founders envisioned a country with far less government, and that most of the government we do have should be on the state and local levels. Unfortunately, over the years many NC Republicans have forgotten the promises they made to the voters, and have increased taxes, increased the size and scope of the state government in Raleigh, and have done little to nothing to cut spending. Principles Matter!
- Our state government does need some funding in order to fulfill its mission of protecting our life, liberty, and property from statewide threats. However, there are many current state services that can be done better locally, or even left to the free market. I believe that most currently provided government services should ultimately be eliminated and left to the private sector. Instead of public welfare, private charity SHOULD be able to do the job better. However, I am realistic enough to know that people have become dependent on government services over the last 100 years. In addition, adequate and comparable private services may not be available in all areas of the state at this time. It would be unethical to eliminate these government services at this time.
- However, we can shift these state operated services over to local control. This would be a step in the right direction. New Hanover County or Brunswick County may not need the entire array of services that are currently paid for and provided by the state. There may be some services that can be replaced with private sector alternatives now, even though a statewide private alternative is not yet available. All of this can save us money.
- There is no reason we can’t fund and operate our schools by ourselves; without the aide or micromanagement of the State Board of Education. There is no reason why we can’t fund, build, and maintain our own roads. There is no reason we can’t fund and disperse family welfare services to our needy. We can do all of these things, do them more effectively, and do them cheaper, if we do them ourselves.
What Would I Do About It?
In order to take back control of these services locally, we must first take back the money! My tax plan is simple. It will eliminate the state income tax, both for individuals (currently at 5.5%) and for corporations (currently at 3%). It would then authorize county governments with the ability to create a county income tax of no more than 3% for local wage earners and corporations. If the revenue is generated locally, it should stay LOCAL!
County government would then be responsible for providing the services that are currently provided for by the state. Some counties may not be able to immediately create all of their own replacement services. The state would still be allowed to operate these services, and the counties that would temporarily need them would simply contract with the existing state agency for those interim services. Eventually counties will catch up, and these state agencies can be completely eliminated.
The benefits of this plan can not be overstated. Not only will individual taxpayers be better off, but we can provide better services locally. Currently we are lucky to get 25 cents back from the state (in the form of goods and services) for every dollar we ship to Raleigh. Where does the other 75% go? Into wasteful pork projects, or into the hands of some rich corporation who “employs” our crooked politicians and bureaucrats in Raleigh. Secondly, we can customize the services we do offer to the real needs of our local community. One-size-fits-all solutions seldom work for everyone. In addition, we can more easily hold local politicians and government officials accountable for the money they spend. Holding people accountable in a super huge state-run bureaucracy is a difficult chore. Finally, we can begin the process of privatization and give taxpayers back more of their income. It might not be easy to find statewide private alternatives, but local alternatives should appear quickly.