Friday, January 08, 2010

Credit where credit is due

Senator Jim Risch made much of his short stint as Governor, and one of his most highly touted "achievements" was a shift in taxes from property to sales tax. He was quite proud of this, and made it a centerpiece of his campaign for Senator.

Well, an unintended consequence of that shift has come to bite us on the kiester. It has been noted that Idaho has suffered proportionally more than most states in the Great Recession. That is, our economy took a bigger hit than most. The economy tanks, and along with it so does consumer spending. And along with that, state sales tax revenue.

Thus, by making sales tax a larger part of our state revenue, the state's budget woes the last couple of years were exacerbated by Risch's tax shift. Had the shift been accompanied by widening the tax base - such as eliminating exemptions, or including a tax on services - the negative impact might have been lessened. But, no, 'twas not to be.

So, our state political leadership is talking about really hacking into state government to keep the budget balanced, with Health and Welfare and education poised to take the biggest hit, because they have the most money. Interestingly, I think Risch will view that as another positive outcome from his delightful tax shift.

I just wonder, why do people who hate government so much want to be part of it?


Anonymous said...

Don't you mean "stint as Short Governor"?

Alan said...

Ha! Good one.