Friday, October 30, 2009

We're not in Kansas anymore....

My friend Earl Glynn, who writes at Kansas Watchdog, had a very interesting post about a store that moved 100 feet in order to leave the state of Kansas and go into Missouri - to avoid the higher taxes and more burdensome regulations.

The store was in the enviable position of having the state line through their property, so it was relatively easy to tear everything down on one side and build new on the other.

According to one politician interviewed on the issue, the store could save around $1 million by making the move.

It's not just businesses looking for better opportunities, the state of New York is seeing middle class families leaving in droves.

Despite liberal thinking that says taxes are good, individuals know better. They realize that every tax dollar going to the 'state' (i.e. government of any kind) is a dollar they don't have for the best interests of their families. And people know they can spend their money better than the 'state' can.

So what are people to do? They move. They vote with their feet and they leave places where taxes are high in favor of places where the burden of government is lower.

While many liberals tout the idea that taxes allow governments to 'give' us things, most productive citizens are not the recipients of such 'gifts.' Yes, we all benefit by police and fire and road service, but when you watch your government cut those so they can open swimming pools in the summer, or have Halloween parties and Easter Egg Hunts for kids, or do 'studies' for whatever special interest captures a politician's fancy, you realize that you are 'sacrificing' so others can benefit - and that government has lost its way by taxing for non-essentials while cutting mandated and necessary services.

And then you see the results of elections and realize that faces may change, but the philosophy of the winners is still the same - and that philosophy over the years has led you to the morass your city is in...

So you move. You pick up and leave. You decide that the investment made to date does not outweigh the potential gains in another location. You take your earnings, your property and income taxes, your volunteer hours, your charitable donations, perhaps even your company or business and its jobs, taxes and purchases - and you go where you can make a better living for yourself and your family.

In a 'stuck on stupid' move, politicians recognize this is happening, but they fail to grasp why. Their solution is to compensate for the loss of governmental revenue by imposing higher taxes on those left - until even those left will decide it is too much to bear and leave as well.

The politicians rationalize that fewer people paying taxes (because they left over the high rates) must - obviously - mean more taxes are needed to make up the difference (the rates must need to be even higher yet). They see only the 'loss of revenue' to them - the government - and never comprehend that their actions led to the problem.

It's a vicious cycle to the bottom. But the good news is that at some point, like a drug addict, the city will hit rock bottom and realize that it needs to change. At that point, the people will elect individuals who have a different philosophy of government and maybe, in the long run, the city will regain a small portion of the families and busineses they lost.

The lesson from Kansas is a clear. What do you think Kansas politicians are going to do about this? The same thing as Toledo????


Timothy W Higgins said...


Over the weekend, you pointed out that when we see "revenue enhancements, we should equate it with taxes. Your rightly add to that now by giving us "loss of revenue", equating to moving out.

This may require an entirely new dictionary.

Kadim said...


Did you ever hear about Andrew Carnegie and his experience with Cuyahoga County politicians?

Apparently they pushed him around a bit, claiming that he wasn't paying enough taxes on his house. Carnegie was so enraged that he ended up being far more charitable to Pittsburgh and New York. (I read about this in an article about the biggest mistakes in Cleveland history.)

The point is that we need to keep taxpayers, no matter what their income level, on the happy side.

Great example of Ohio politicians blowing it. (He also wanted to build a college in the Cleveland area to rival the Ivies...but the thinking was that good colleges belong on the east coast. Carnegie-Mellon was meant to be based in Cleveland.)

Quite upsetting really.

Maggie said...

Kadim - Danny Thomas was from Toledo and had this great idea for a specialized childrens' hospital. Like Carnegie, his idea wasn't welcomed.

Today Memphis is the home to one of the most advanced childrens cancer hospitals in the world - St. Jude's .... and all the terrific economic development it has had on Memphis over the years...

What is it about Ohio politicos????

Kadim said...

I wasn't aware of that. Pretty depressing.

Columbus missed an interesting opportunity a few years back. Apparently in the early 90s an artist in Ukraine made a 200 ft bronze statue of Christopher Columbus, and wanted to give it to the city of Columbus...all they had to do was pay for shipping.

The chamber of commerce wanted it. However "wiser" people thought it would be a mistake, since it would overwhelm the city (it's basically having a statue of liberty right in the middle of downtown.)

Today I think it was a foolish error and a 200ft statue of Columbus is exactly the type of thing that the city could use.

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