I was reading a USA Today article, North Dakota Voters to Decide on Abolishing Property Tax, on the North Dakota ballot initiative to remove property taxes from the list of possible revenue sources for government operations. It made me think…
Ideally, shouldn’t governments raise the monies for their operations at the level which they are spent? (i.e. Federal government for military and border control, states for highways and national guard, localities for roads, police and schools) This idea is part of the concept of “subsidiarity”, or, writ large, “federalism”.
So, if this measure were to pass, the localities would lose their main mode of tax collection. From what source do they propose to replace these revenues? State monies. This goes against the idea of subsidiarity.
Why is this an issue? Local taxpayers would no longer bear the direct impact of the consequences of local governments’ expenditures. This would exacerbate the already existing problems caused by the federal government’s collection and redistribution of federal income taxes to the states. This form of taxing for the costs of governments results in “nobody” directly paying for “anything”, which leads to “everybody” paying more and more for a growing “everything”.
I know this measure has made it this far due to the increasing state surpluses created by the oil boom currently ongoing. However, there is a much better way of distributing these monies. Instead of letting state governments have first dibs on the proceeds of mineral resources, which they will always find a way to spend, distribute these revenues to the citizens of the state. Then the levels of government can tax the citizens to gather the funds.
After all, it is the citizens’ money, not the government’s.