The big money grab continues in Northeastern states, as New York seems set to follow Connecticut by placing a deposit tax on bottled water and then cynically counting on people not returning those bottles so they can keep the nickels. This is pretty disingenuous even by government standards. But it's also a trick that taxpayers across the country need to be watching for closely.
You see, lawmakers will claim the taxes on beverage containers are meant to benefit the environment, yet even the lawmakers know that's not really true. Otherwise, why would they literally count on people not returning those bottles? And why would they take away the money needed to operate the deposit return and recycling systems these nickels are supposed to go toward?
What's most galling about these taxes designed to close record budget deficits is that lawmakers are forcing hard-working families to pay for their sins. Whether you want to rightly blame years of uncontrolled state and federal spending, lack of proper oversight of banks, continual bailouts of flawed companies - these deficits all boil down to government not doing its job at some level.
And now, government wants you to pay for it: either with higher taxes that raise the cost for everyday products and services - or with your job. (If you still have one.)
Gov. David Paterson told the Buffalo News: "None of this makes sense," referring to a plan that imposes record tax increases and cuts many popular programs. But he said the choices were difficult and a "shared sacrifice" by all New Yorkers. "This is in response to a crisis."
A crisis, perhaps, but not one created by the hard-working New Yorkers or employers you are hitting hard to pay for a crisis of government's creation, Mr. Governor. You're right about one thing, Governor: None of this makes sense. So don't do it!
State Sen. William Stachowski told the News: "We don't like the things that are in there. We've never had to deal with a $17 billion budget hole."
We guarantee you, Senator, that your constituents will dislike "the things" - taxes - that are in there even worse than you. Especially when it causes them to lose a job or impedes their ability to provide for their families. And if you don't want to deal with a $17 billion budget hole, manage government better.
Sip & Savor has been focusing a great deal on New York when it comes to taxes, jobs and budget deficits because it is such a huge state. Other states are facing fiscal challenges as well, as is our federal government.
Taxpayers in every state need to stay involved in how their state budget challenges are resolved. Because if New York and Connecticut are harbingers, the leaders of your state may soon be looking to balance their problems on your backs. Or more worrisome, make you pay for their problems with your money or your job.
And how is further burdening families any way for a state or the country to dig out of recession?