Thursday, August 13, 2009

It's the volume stupid!

In response to lower revenues and budget shortfalls due to the recession, many state and local governments and agencies have resorted to raising fees, taxes, fines and whatever else they can think of. In my neck of the woods, the City of Fountain is contemplating a sales tax increase to pay for infrastructure projects. While I applaud the proponents for getting their plan before the public well in advance of even attempting to get it on the ballot, I think the focus is in the wrong direction.

It seems to me a better strategy would be to look for ways to increase sales volume rather than the sales tax rate. Government should be looking for opportunities to get out of the way. If government needs to cut spending, how about cutting in areas that make doing business cumbersome. Look for paperwork to eliminate, outdated or unnecessary codes or regulations. Less bureaucracy means fewer man hours. There's your savings.

Yes, that would mean a reduction in government's work force, but I believe those jobs would be made up many times over in a more vibrant private sector. Business doesn't want advisory boards, cheerleaders, commissions or more government assistance. It just wants you out of the way.

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