Scott Tibbs, 02-10-2002

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It's not your money!

At a recent Third House forum in Bloomington, Rep. Mark Kruzan (D-Bloomington) said that legislators should do the "responsible" thing and raise taxes in the wake of the budgetary crisis that Indiana finds itself in.

There is no doubt that Indiana faces a major problem, with expenditures expected to drastically outpace revenues in the next few years. Both chambers of the Indiana Legislature and Governor O'Bannon have a responsibility to correct this problem. And while there are serious flaws in both the original plan put forth by O'Bannon and the modified version from the House Democrats, there is a deeper issue in Kruzan's statement. Is raising taxes really the "responsible" thing to do at this time?

Indiana is suffering through a national recession that began near the end of the Clinton administration, and was worsened by the economic shock of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Hoosiers are justifiably concerned about their economic well being, and they also face serious property tax hikes with the coming reassessment. President Bush recognizes that the government, with its high tax rates, is impeding economic progress. Therefore, Bush is trying to pass tax cuts so that the government will confiscate a little bit less from everyone's paycheck. It should be obvious that placing an even bigger tax burden on an already unsteady economy is not a wise move. But Kruzan does not see it that way.

When one considers the real tax burden on the average American, the numbers are staggering. Gasoline tax, sales tax, property tax, federal and state income tax, ands Social Security taxes are but a few of the taxes the government uses to forcibly take money out of our wallets. When you add on taxes passed on to consumers via higher prices, the numbers go up even higher. For example, people who rent their homes pay property taxes indirectly through their rent, and various corporate taxes are passed along to the consumer. Even for the working poor, Social Security takes a large chunk of one's income, and anyone born after 1970 can forget about ever seeing a dime of the money they pay in.

It should be clear to all but the most ardent big-government Leftists that the American people, and Hoosiers specifically, are drastically overtaxed. President Bush has realized this and has moved to at least reduce the federal income tax burden. With the tax burden as high as it is, the only responsible thing for government to do with taxes is to cut them. Yet Mark Kruzan and State Legislative Democrats want to take even more money from already struggling Hoosiers.

Advance America pointed out recently that had the state simply enacted a cap on the growth of state spending, this budget crisis could have been avoided. The Indianapolis Star concurred in an editorial. But state government could not control their lust for more and more spending, and when revenues fell with the recession a budget crisis reared its ugly head. Now, we face "painful" cuts in "essential" government programs. And heavens forbid that state government would cut the Build Indiana Fund and use the tens of millions that go to that program for these "essential" services. Should Hoosier voters presume that a slush fund that legislators use to buy votes is more important than the education of Indiana's children?

Ultimately, though, more and more taxes is never enough for this bunch. And why not? Many of these big government Leftists have shown with their policies and words that they think they know how to spend your money better than you do, so to them it's only right to take more and more of it. Hoosier voters must go to the polls in both May and November with a very simple four word message. "It's not your money!"