Letter to the Editor

Use tax hurts middle class

Thursday, April 3, 2014

In a recent essay in the Economists' Voice, Edward Lazear and James Poterba of the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform wrote the following:"Given the political process that determines the tax code, special provisions are likely to depend more on an interest group's lobbying efforts than on careful estimates of social externalities or other considerations."

What does that mean?

On a local level it means that county and city elected officials will often bow to demands of rent-seeking interest groups like the Chambers of Commerce. This is happening locally: a financial dilemma is being used to pressure the middle class into passing a regressive use tax to "level the playing field."

The Cape Girardeau County Presiding Commissioner said on August 20, 2013, " ... we shouldn't support rules that incentivize you to go spend your money in other states." He is absolutely correct. Using a tax to dictate individual behavior is always a bad choice. The use tax will interfere with the rights of taxpayers to dispose of their property as they see fit without intrusion from government.

One can support local businesses by disregarding the tax consequences and buying local. That is the way a free market system should work. Local governments must seek ways to raise revenue for necessary programs without interfering with the free market.

On April 8, the citizens of Jackson, Cape Girardeau and Cape County will have the opportunity to stand firm against this "Washingtonian mentality" of social engineering by voting against the use tax.