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Local Governments Never Go Out Of Business Lobbying Against Your Rights And Interests

Anyone who reads this blog with the slightest of regularity knows that a major issue we've tried to bring to voters' attention is the fact that local governments use taxpayers' money to lobby against their interests, rights and liberty at the General Assembly. Whether it's through direct lobbying or through a collective effort via their associations (the Virginia Municipal League and the Virginia Association of Counties), and almost always through both by large cities or counties, local governments actively work to empower themselves at their citizens' expense and use their hard-earned tax money to do so. It's as if they consider themselves apart from the citizenry and look out for their own fiefdoms, while the serfs unwittingly fund their own demise. A case in point was exposed in Tuesday's Washington Post concerning how well Fairfax County fared during the recently completed session, as if the county was a citizen seeking relief from government rather than the special interest local governments have become. While much of the article concerned school funding (which might not be such a problem if local governments and school boards supported much needed reforms) there were two telling sections:

County officials lobbied against a measure that would begin the process of amending the state Constitution to prevent the use of eminent domain for economic development. Fairfax officials said they thought the measure went too far.

As if protecting homes, businesses, farms and places of worship is something that can be negotiated. How would local governments like it if their ability to tax was negotiated? Oh, wait:

(Supervisor Jeff McKay, a Democrat) expressed frustration that perhaps the most comprehensive approach to solving the region's transportation woes was barely given a hearing — a bill put forward by (Democrat Delegate Vivian) Watts that would have changed the way that gasoline is taxed and allowed Northern Virginia to impose certain taxes to fund projects in the region.

If it's not taking your property, limiting your choice in education or the right to spend your money in gargantuan proportions, you can be guaranteed it's always about the right to tax you more (and more and more). Poor, poor Supervisor McKay . . . denied the right to suck away more hard-earned money from his constituents, especially gas taxes as gas station light bulbs blow out staying current with daily price increases on the way to $4.00 a gallon. It's estimated now that 15 percent of disposable income is spent on gas and we can expect food prices (and other items) to continue to climb  as transportation costs skyrocket.

But as families look for ways to make ends meet, pay the mortgage, plan for their children's college and other financial responsibilities, and worry if their jobs, farms or businesses will exist in a week, month or year, local governments continue on. They know their future. As long as they have us to foot their bill, they're golden. After all, has a local government ever gone out of business?

The Unreported Cause Of Inflation

Everyone is concerned about inflation and well they should. It's a debilitating monetary disease that cripples the value of money: One can earn more money in a given period but still have less purchasing power when inflation infects the economy. It hurts working families and endangers what parents can provide for their children. Inflation comes in many forms, such as commodity-based inflation (such as what we are experiencing now with oil prices affecting almost everything type of product). Economists are good at tracking the causes of inflation and how much those causes tack on to the prices we eventually pay at the cash register. Then there are the demagogue politicians who scream for windfall profit taxes to punish companies that charge to keep up with demand for their products while ignorantly using the phrase "windfall profits." (Hint: it doesn't mean "large profits.")

However, in all the media circus, what never gets reported is the biggest cause of price increases: Taxes. That's correct. The largest percentage cost of most items is the added cost created by excessive taxes. Unfortunately, economists never factor taxes into inflation rates.

Into that breech steps Americans for Tax Reform. Here are some shocking examples, courtesy of ATR and FiscalAccountability.org, of how much taxes increase some very basic products and services:

Cable Television Service: 46.3%

Cell Phones: 46.4%

Hotel Rooms: 50%

Car Rentals: 60.6%

Soft Drinks: 37.6%

Restaurant Meals: 44.8%

Gasoline: 51.2%

Landline Phones: 51.8%

Domestic Air Fare: 55%

The figures include the cost of sales taxes, corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, unemployment insurance taxes, workmen's compensation taxes and other payments to federal, state and local governments. Not that taxes aren't necessary to pay for necessary and proper functions of government, but is there any excuse for government to punish its citizens by limiting their ability to save, invest and spend their hard-earned money for what they want and for how they want to provide for their families with such excessive ad-ons to the actual production and service costs of a product?

So with all the speechifying about making "corporations pay their fair share" be aware of how much that fair share is inflation in the form of high taxes. Let's call that government-inflicted tax inflation.