1/5/10

Linc Chafee & the Sales Tax

I have to hand it to Lincoln Chafee in addressing the need to do something about boosting revenue to state coffers. Linc surprised everyone in his Monday announcement of his independent run for governor by stating that he favored expanding the sales tax to bring in an additional $89 million a year. Naturally, he has been pulverized for suggesting any new level of taxation by naysayers who don't want to address anything new in terms of taxes and revenues. They prefer to operate by saying we can't raise taxes when the unfortunate reality is, we must.

Actually the General Assembly may soon follow Chafee's lead and broaden the sales tax. It has been talked about before and the need is desperate now.

Notwithstanding the fact that state government spends more than it takes in and there is a pressing need to cut government costs, something must be done to bring in more revenue in the near term, and so we can hardly avoid discussing taxes. Credit Chafee for having the political courage to do just that.

It's too easy to say "No new taxes!" when the state is drifting towards insolvency. I would sooner see a broadening of the sales tax than severe cuts to local governments that then force them to raise property taxes.

I know many will disagree. But ranting about how state government is the problem and how it is screwing us is not a solution. We need to think creatively about how to deal with this immense problem we've got.