Inside ALEC June 2012

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“No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”

– President Ronald Reagan

The above quotation is an excerpt from U.S. Rep. Tom Graves’ (GA) article in newest edition of Inside ALEC: A Special Issue on Budget and Tax.  In this intriguing expose, Congressman Graves discusses the benefits of legislation to cut out the federal government as the middle man for most transportation money collected through the federal gas tax.  Millions of dollars are spent on projects that have nothing to do with building or maintaining highways, and millions more are spent simply running the bureaucracy.  Instead, he proposes letting the states keep the highway dollars they collect, so they can spend the money on highway projects as they see fit.

In addition to Representative Graves’ compelling argument regarding the federal gas tax, the June edition of Inside ALEC includes a feature about the 5th Edition of Rich States, Poor Stateswhich is co-authored by Dr. Arthur Laffer, Stephen Moore and ALEC’s own Jonathan Williams.  Rich States, Poor States is a widely used tool that measures the competitiveness of state business and tax climates. The publication identifies the policies that have the greatest impact on economic growth, job creation, and interstate migration.

Economics professor Barry Poulson describes the last decade’s trend among the states to reform the personal income tax.  In Personal Income Tax Reform in the States: Lower, Flatter, and FairerPoulson outlines such exciting tax reforms as Colorado’s Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR), which resulted in $3.25 billion in surplus revenue being refunded to Colorado taxpayers from 1997 to 2000.

As legislators argue over how to best get your money from online transactions, Andrew Moylan from the National Taxpayers’ Union, details his “Original” Solution to Taxation of Online Sales.  He argues that the origin-based system for sales tax collection is simpler for the taxpayer, fairer for businesses and would further stimulate healthy tax competition amongst the states.

Both challenges and encouragement can be found in Michigan when it comes to pensions and unfunded liabilities.   Richard Dreyfuss, an actuary with the Commonwealth Foundation and Michigan Representative Aric Nesbitt praise Michigan for being a leader in addressing unfunded pension liabilities.

Bob Williams, President of State Budget Solutions writes an article on state budget shortfalls and discusses the vastly different methods of measuring deficits.

Finally, in this edition of Inside ALEC, Congressman Alan Nunnelee poignantly makes the case that America needs a balanced budget amendment.  As the Congressman puts it, “we do not cut spending for sport; we do so because we know that smaller government and low taxes are essential to a strong economy and a free people.”

Find all of these articles, along with a personal letter from 2012 ALEC National Chairman Rep. Dave Frizzell in this edition of Inside ALEC: A Special Issue on Budget and Tax.