What would you tax to fix your state's budget crisis?

Friday, May 09, 2008 - 12:00 AM

December 19, 2008: The State of the States: Talking budget cuts with N.J. Gov. Jon Corzine and Wisc. Gov. James Doyle

December 19, 2008: Steven Zelin, the Singing CPA, makes music about taxes

May 28, 2008: At least 28 states and the District of Columbia are expected to face budget shortfalls next year. What would you tax to fix your state’s budget crisis? Gas guzzlers? Beer? MP3s? Porn?

May 12, 2008: Chart: State deficits, 2008-2009
Students from College Republicans protest Jim Beall's "beer tax"


John Hockenberry, Adaora Udoji and Adnaan Wasey


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Comments [22]

Jason Klus

All the money is in advertising. Tax that. The superbowl alone would generate a ton.

Jul. 29 2009 10:02 AM
Ribert Dickerson

Here in Nevada I would advocate requiring financially capable convicts to pay for court costs and for their own incarceration. An example is O J Simpson, recently convicted here in Nevada. His 10 years incarceration will cost Nevada citizens about one half million dollars. Add that to the half million dollars for court costs and we have a million dollars. OUr state deficit is 900 million, but coming down due to Gov't cuts and use of emergency rainy day funds. The million dollars for this convict is a large part of the remaining deficit. The convict has a 300,000 per year income, making him quite capable of paying "his own way"

Dec. 31 2008 02:26 PM

Why not ask what I would cut? a) agricultural subsidies; b) missile defense, which everyone agrees will not work; c) homeland security (yes, we invested billions in an unnecessary bureaucracy that does not make us safer); d) the Iraq war. Most of what I want from my tax money comes from the state (e.g. education), not from the federal government anyway. If you want to tax something, tax gas. Our economy needs to become WAY more efficient in energy consumpiton.

Dec. 21 2008 03:33 PM
Carl Hoetzl

I think recipients of political contributions should pay taxes on the gross amount received.

Dec. 19 2008 09:38 AM

what would i tax to balance state budget ? i would tax each employer $1,000 for the first illegal alien on their payroll . and then i would double the fine for the next illegal and double the fine for the next illegal and so on . for example a employer caught with 10 illegal employees would pay a fine of $1,023,000 .plus court cost ! i would fine each illegal worker $1,000 also . but this would be refunded if the illegal cooperated with immigration officers , took steps to become a legal citizen , and has paid over $2,000 in legal payroll taxes . and has no criminal record .

Aug. 04 2008 10:46 PM

I also agree with taxing sprawl. Also an additional tax on SUV's and increase the gas guzzler tax, and a pollution tax to big, old deisel trucks that blow plumes of black smoke out their tail pipes. To reduce spral, however, maybe a tax on every tree you cut down when developing virgin land, combined with tax breaks for reusing previously developed or abandoned property.

More luxury taxes on items such as plasma TV's, jewelry, and eliminate increased tax credits that make it fiscally attractive to have more children. The number one threat to the environment is human population growth, and we encourage it by giving tax breaks (or increased welfare benefits) to people with more children.

Jun. 20 2008 07:27 AM
David Downing

RE: Your solicitation of comments about endangered species

Education as we know it is endangered in this country. High stakes tests based on state standards mean that millions of students are learning only material that will be on the test. It doesn't seem to be improving learning much; student test scores have not improved, and students from foreign countries outperform American students. Private schools are scrambling for money. Teachers and students perform for public relations purposes to draw attention and impress donors to give money. Whether or not this PR stunts is good education is a secondary thought at best.

May. 13 2008 07:30 AM
Jeff Burton

Dear "Takeaway",

Why, when the economy softens, do we always talk about what the states can do to "raise revenue" (i.e. raise taxes)? How about doing what individuals do when in economic hard times--curtail spending. State tax revenues rose from 535B in 2002 to 750 B in 2007--that is a compound annual growth rate of 7.0%(source: US Census Bureau). I wish my income had compounded at an annual rate of 7% over the past five years. State and Federal Government needs to stop spending money rather than looking around for ways to layer in ever more taxes---taxes that never seem to go away, even after the economy has returned to a growth phase.

May. 12 2008 07:36 PM
Margaret Barmack

I would tax any new vehicle which gets less than 25 mpg.

May. 12 2008 02:16 PM
Gwydion Suilebhan

Why not mandate balanced budgets? Write them into state constitutions? And mandate the elimination of deficits by, say, eight years from now? By the end of the second Obama term we'll be in good shape.

May. 12 2008 02:10 PM
Joe Tate

Why would we have to tax more. We have a huge percentage of our population working for the govt, making more then the average person. They must remember that they work for the people. If the people are making less money, so should they. There should be a 10% pay cut accross the board for ALL govt. workers. It isnt fair that we as tax pays must continue to be taxed to pay a govt worker more then the market price for their job.

May. 12 2008 08:40 AM
Mike Hajduk

........ tax the income of the u.s. bourgeoisie - not workers or the poor!

May. 12 2008 07:40 AM

Crimes, junk food.

May. 12 2008 07:19 AM
john reseska

Your premise is misdirected. Why do you presume that taxes need to be raised? Why not eliminate programs? At the federal level, why not start (but not finish) with the Department of Agriculture? (there are lots of other candidates after that)
Thank you
John Reseska

May. 12 2008 06:24 AM
Vince Marino


May. 12 2008 06:22 AM
Daveed Kapoor

I agree with TPS - tax sprawl.
One should pay an enormously high tax to develop rural land that has not been developed before.

May. 12 2008 05:12 AM
Kevin P

Working people don't "make" money, businesses do. Tax business, not work.
In my book, work includes grocery shopping. If I buy the kids a chocolate bar, I pay sales tax. If I buy shares in the chocolate company I don't!
End the tax "holidays" and subsidies to big business: level the playing fields, free the "free market."
Stop subsidizing mortgage payments for non-primary residences.
Discourage consumption: double or triple tax on petroleum and petroleum products.

May. 11 2008 10:37 PM

I think taxes for sale of guns, automobiles and liquor should be increased.

May. 11 2008 09:07 AM

The premise of your question is wrong. Why tax to balance a budget?

Cut spending and work on reducing the horrific waste Government creates. What ever happened to Government of the people, by the people, and for the people? Governments everywhere are distinct entities that behave in a manner that maximizes their own interests.

It's not necessary to tax always at the very top of the Laffer Curve. Or is it?

How about Government just cutting back, as everyone else must? Why is Government's answer to recession increasing taxes?

And if you think giving Government your money is a good idea, ask yourself where you get more for your money, with HUD, a Government Agency, or with Habitat for Humanity, a private organization that works for the same goals.

May. 10 2008 12:06 AM
Mark Jeffries

Mr. Bowman:

What in the hell does your comment have to do with state budgets and taxes?

And aren't you alleged progressives supposed to be in favor of change?

May. 09 2008 09:11 PM

Ignorance, Selfishness & Greed.

May. 09 2008 07:21 PM

tax sprawl.
small communities cost more per capita. if a community doesn't want to share services with their neighbors then they should pay additional for this luxury not ask for additional state aid. also new housing developments never pay for the long term cost of damage to the environment, water, wildlife. urban areas are more sustainable and should not be asked to subsidize the sprawl any more.

May. 09 2008 05:40 PM

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