The following is a speech given by Rep. John Andrews (R-Paris) for Maine Taxpayers United. It is republished here with permission.
Today is tax day and in a perfect world tomorrow would be election day. Maybe then voters in Maine would stop electing politicians who can’t even make a commitment to return surplus tax money to the people from whom it was confiscated in the first place. In Maine, it seems that every penny of tax money taken must be spent and every unnecessary pet project must be funded when tax and spend liberals control the levers of power in Augusta.
For those of you paying attention – your ears perked up when I said ‘surplus tax money’. What exactly is ‘surplus tax money?’ When a budget is drafted and enacted that is the ledger sheet that lays out how much money is to be taxed and spent and for what purpose in a given fiscal year. Basically, it states how much money must be taken from the people to operate government for the next 12-24 months.
The state budget is always bloated and every department’s sacred cow is always protected from sacrifice. This is bad enough for a standard operating procedure and why bureaucrats break out the crucifix and holy water every time zero based budgeting gets mentioned in the halls of the capital.
Surplus tax money is money taken from the people that exceeds the fiscal projections for needed revenue to operate government in a yearly budget. The amount of surplus tax revenue or overconfiscated tax money has been increasing steadily year after year in the recent past.
Why is this? The answer is man-made monetary inflation. Our economically illiterate representatives in Washington, D.C., have exploded our country’s ledgers with out-of-control spending. Spending in the trillions of dollars that exceed our ability to pay for it. The answer to this was to simply create more fiat currency out of thin air to cover the nation’s exorbitant bar tab. Unfortunately, the massive fiscal hangover is unavoidable and all of us are waking up next to an extremely devalued dollar because of it.
Our D.C. politicians should be having a hard conversation about commodity backed money versus fiat currency, but the majority of them are oblivious to that clear and present danger facing our country.
With a devalued dollar due to inflation the cost of goods and services has also become inflated. Accordingly, the percentage of tax collected on these goods and services has gone up because more dollars are being spent to cover the gap in these inflationary times. Taxation is theft, everyone knows that. I would also say that inflation is theft! It robs Americans of their purchasing power and is a hidden tax on Americans for simply living their day to day lives. It is a pernicious cost to pay for uncontrolled spending.
In Maine the result of an inflated dollar is the surplus tax money that is being collected in Augusta. It is unavoidable. The surplus over collected tax money should be returned to the tax payers and not spent on pet project by legislators or the Governor. In a campaign year the money was returned with a campaign letter from Governor Mills. I’ve over taxed you, but here’s a couple bucks, see you at the ballot box. That is not good enough for the hard times that we are living in.
We need structural tax reform. We need to lower the percentage rates of taxes collected. That is what’s meant by structural tax reform. We need to change the tax structure so that the overall percentage of tax collected tied to dollars spent is lowered in relation to the higher price of goods and services. This is the only sustainable way to ease the burden on our people to let them keep more of their money in their pocket in the first place.
On this Tax Day, I urge everyone to contact their state representative and state senator and tell them to not just support structural tax reform, but to advocate for it! If you want improve the fiscal lives of the people you represent, then actually fight for them and their wallets by getting structural tax reform done in Augusta so that our people can keep their heads above water in the rough seas of stagflation that all our boats will be mired in for years to come.