Saturday, October 20, 2007

Why do services degrade as govt grows?

Chicago is the textbook case of big government growing until it crushes the taxpayers and topples over of its own weight. Many city services are in shambles and yet Mayor Daley's response is higher taxes and more levels of bureaucracy....precisely the wrong solution.

When government grows to this size, the constituencies within government have far more influence than the taxpayers in the legislative body. The taxpayers only real option is to move to another, lower taxed, city.

Link: Behind the Great Tax Push

There's an old political maxim in Illinois that speaks volumes about why it's so hard to put governments on a diet.

"If you can't get a meal, at least take a sandwich," officials like to say as they cut deals with taxpayer money that can lead to bigger programs and payrolls and, sometimes, political fiefdoms.

But suddenly, it might seem, some of the state's most powerful political leaders have wearied of budget snacks and are headed for the all-you-can-eat buffet.

Eye-popping new budget plans from Mayor Richard Daley and Cook County Board President Todd Stroger ask taxpayers to pony up nearly $1.2 billion in new taxes and fees. Meanwhile, the CTA and other transit agencies are pushing for a regionwide one-quarter percent sales tax increase.

And this all follows Gov. Rod Blagojevich's failed attempt to raise $7 billion in business taxes.

Civic Federation president Laurence Msall calls it a "tsunami of tax increase proposals," but the question is, why is all this happening now?