Don’t raise taxes, legalize marijuana

The Boulder Daily Camera published my short piece on why the city should not raise taxes.  Also check out (in the comments) Seth Brigham’s open records research on how the City of Boulder spends money.

The city should cut its spending — just as families, nonprofits, and companies have in response to decreased income. To stay in business, companies reduce spending by laying off employees. These employees respond by being more frugal. Governments should do the same, and resist the temptation to increase tax rates.

Voters who want to increase the city’s revenue should put their money where their vote is. Instead of imposing their preferences on everyone else, they should oppose tax rate increases and donate their own money to the city. Better yet, they could donate to their favorite tax-funded programs. For example, Wednesday’s Camera article about this issue mentioned funding for housing and human services, RTD, and libraries.

We’re not talking about the law enforcement and public safety here, but some programs that perform the same or similar functions as nonprofits or companies. Why should these programs receive tax dollars when the nonprofits and companies they unfairly compete with must raise money from willing donors or customers?

In the face of decreased revenues, why should the City of Boulder act differently from everyone else? It should not be exempt from fiscal responsibility. City Council should be creative, find ways to cut costs, and do more with less.

In the comments I noted that Colorado would see increased tax revenue should they legalize and tax the sale of marijuana.  See Jeffrey Miron’s study here and mention of this idea for Colorado at Politics West here (along w/ a commenter who pointed me to Miron’s study.) Of course, the plant should be legal to grow and consume regardless of tax revenues, as I wrote here.

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