Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
Per a article on my local online rag, CA collected more property tax money than expected, so spent it. Tax me more, then per their usual ways, spent it too. I live in a rural area and they are charging me the last two years now for fire protection that the FS provides, not CalFire. http://www.plumasnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=12253:feather-river-college-notified-of-418000-windfall&catid=69:-headline-news&Itemid=6 Duane
Loc: Portland, OR
Here in Oregon we have a law you would probably like, called the "kicker law". Whenever state revenues exceed predicted revenues by more than 2%, the entirety of the excess amount above the prediction must be returned to the taxpayers. It is the only such law in any of the 50 states and it has been in place long enough (over 20 years at least) to gauge its effects.
Personally, I don't care for the effects. Because state budgets must be balanced (which is good) and they address future spending (which is unavoidable), the only rational way to know how to balance the budget is to make a stab at guessing how much tax revenue you'll raise. This is the best any state can do, but it is a very inexact system.
The fact that revenues exceeded predictions has absolutely nothing to do with the state collecting "too much" money, as it has to do with a mismatch between some economist's guesswork about the future and what really happened. Most of all, the revenue that was predicted has nothing to do with the amount of money needed to pay for the services the people need or want.
Say there's a recession (not too farfetched, right?) and there's not enough money to fix roads or pay for state troopers. Those needs go unmet. Not enough money. Now imagine that there's actually more money than you budgeted for those things. In Oregon, those needs remain unmet much longer, even when there's money to pay for them, because of the kicker law. The net result is that state services are underfunded more frequently and the backlog of problems that pile up in lean times are rarely caught up with when lean times end. The state's basic infrastructure, including its schools, roads and parks, has been sinking slowly for decades now.
That's just how I view it. Every attempt to repeal the kicker in Oregon gets shouted down, so obviously some people here like it.
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
That makes sense. Much of the timber producing counties that Oregon has too, are dependent on the goodness of our legislatures to send taxpayer dollars so roads and schools can be kept up. That bill comes up every year. Duane
Here in Florida the governor wants to give unexpected revenue to private corporations in the form of tax cuts. He doesn't seem concerned about the income tax he imposed on state employees two year ago (3%), the cuts made to every state agency, state services, or to infrastructure.
I guess being a state employee makes me a little biased.
Here in Michigan we are going to have a surplus. All education funding has been cut and infrastructure spending has been eliminated due to the recession and the weakness of the auto industry which has been the basis of the MI economy. Being an election year the politicians want to "cut taxes". The refund to the people would be about $40. The majority of the people want to fix the roads and/or help education. The surplus does not go far to restore the education cuts or the fix the roads but a tax refund buys one restaurant meal and does nothing to fix the problems. We need politicians less dependent on buying votes and more interested in doing what has to be done.