Tax Reform

Americans are a hard-working bunch and should keep what they earn. Our ideas for tax reform reduce the burden of taxes while ensuring governments have the resources to focus on core responsibilities.

<p>Americans are a hard-working bunch and should keep what they earn. Our ideas for tax reform reduce the burden of taxes while ensuring governments have the resources to focus on core responsibilities. </p>

By Charles Goyette

Speaking of the legislature: You can call me suspicious, you can even call me unduly suspicious, but you can't call me asleep at the switch. The Goldwater Institute, that does so much good work here in the state, has put together a forum on tax and spending limitations.

There's plenty of talk in the national media about state and local governments dreaming up long Christmas lists to try and make a grab for their share of federal stimulus spending.

Increasing the federal gas tax to shore up the nation's bridges will not make American drivers safer. But better planning and prioritization of existing transportation funds could. The Transportation Dept. spends about $60 billion per year, and the federal Highway Trust Fund takes in about $40 billion from current gas taxes. There is plenty of money in this $100 billion pot to fund bridge maintenance.

The current national debate proves one thing: Policymakers know how to spend our money, but they have no idea how to invest it.

The good news is you have until midnight Tuesday to file your tax return. The bad news is that you probably spent an inordinate amount of time and money preparing it. But if you believe nothing can be done about this, you may be wrong.

An ideal system of taxation would be simple and transparent. Reasonably conscientious payers could comply with assurance that they had paid the correct amount. The tax itself would inflict minimal economic damage. Tax avoidance would have little impact on business and personal decisions.

Democrats are flexing their muscles. On the fiscal front, they promise to fulfill their mandate for change by prudent fiscal management and looking out for the middle class. They never provided much detail to war-weary voters during the campaign. But now its time to get down to business and make good on their promises.

After years in the red, the Arizona Legislature finds itself with a near-$1 billion revenue surplus. Will the good times continue to roll?

The capital gains tax rate cut, Arizona's robust construction industry and the strong real estate market all contributed to the surplus.

The continuation of good economic times depends in large part on Washington making the capital gains tax rate cuts permanent and our state economy remaining healthy. Arizona policymakers can help do their part by cutting tax rates in 2006.

In a recent article, a Republic business columnist argued that opponents of the Phoenix Civic Plaza expansion and university lab funding lacked the vision of Arizona political giants like Carl Hayden and John Rhodes, writing that "If we'd have listened to the naysayers, California would happily have taken our water."

Earlier this year, Governor Janet Napolitano distributed to the press a study titled "The Way We Tax," which was released in the February issue of Governing Magazine. But the Governing study is far from being an ideologically neutral guide to good governance. In fact, the study has a strong bias in favor of higher taxation and higher spending.

Raising Arizona

In the 1980's TV series Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, galactic explorer Arthur Dent discovers that the ultimate answer to "life, the universe, and everything" is 42.

While the Goldwater Institute does not claim to have solved any of the deep mysteries of the cosmos, we do have "42 Ideas for a Free and Prosperous Arizona," that can be implemented this year to expand our freedom and economic prosperity. For example:

When Arizona sued the cigarette makers in 1996, the state minced no words in describing the pernicious effects of smoking: "Tobacco products are not only addictive, they are abnormally dangerous and unfit for human use. Tobacco products kill, maim, and injure virtually all who use them." Reading that, any rational person would have to conclude that the state would criminalize cigarettes. Evidently, consistency and logic take a back seat when big bucks are at stake.

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