It seems to be the season of tax revolts around the nation, with one taxpayer group working hard to repeal the Massachusetts income tax. Now another tax revolt is brewing in neighboring Connecticut, where education costs are eating up more tax dollars at a rate far above that of inflation.
Both states are as blue as can be, yet the taxpayers have had just about enough of the profligate spending in each state, with little sign the respective legislatures or governors will curb spending and lessen the tax burden on the residents.
In Connecticut, a state with one of the highest overall tax burdens, education costs are rising far too fast and the taxpayers aren't getting their money's worth. In the past 25 years the student population in the Nutmeg State has grown about 10%, but costs have almost tripled during that time. A state income tax was imposed to help lessen the burden of local property taxes and the state sales tax, which at one point was over 8%. While the sales tax dropped, property taxes continued to rise.
It was the triple whammy of quickly rising property taxes and the double hit of state income and sales taxes that forced the WP Parents sell off their retirement home in Connecticut and relocate to New Hampshire. Too much of their retirement income was being eaten up by the taxes they were paying and it no longer made sense for them to remain there. A home that had been in our family for over three generations was lost because local and state spending was out of control. My parents weren't the only ones forced into taking such actions, nor will they be the last.
A look at the West Coast, specifically California, shows a similar situation, where state and local spending is outstripping the ability of the taxpayers to fund it all. State spending is seriously out of balance, with a deficit of $15 billion and no state budget as of yet, and a proposal by Governor Schwarzenegger to boost the state sales tax. One thing California can least afford is raising taxes at a time when everyone is struggling with making ends meet. This can only fuel a tax revolt.
There are tax cap referendums in Nevada and Florida, where the people have also had enough of the endless tax increases with little to show for all the money those states are collecting.
Even here in New Hampshire the taxpayers have watched the state legislature boost spending by 17.5% while failing to fund the budget increase, seriously inflating revenue estimates to justify the increased spending. The taxpayers aren't in the mood to fund such a bloated budget when they're still dealing with tax increases in their own towns and cities.
The conditions for a tax revolt are ripe. And it's about time the tax-and-spend politicians from both parties realize that...or they may need to start looking for new jobs after November.