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OP-ED: Tax hikes not fair, not good government policy

York Dispatch

American author and humorist Peg Bracken (who also worked with Homer Groening, father of "The Simpson's" creator Matt Groening) once asked: "Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?"

Coming from the private sector, I never cease to be amazed at the differences between how government deals with issues as compared to employers — or even families.

When businesses or families have a problem, they cut costs and find ways to be more efficient. When government has a problem, it reaches into the pockets of taxpayers and asks for more.

I don't think this is fair, or good government policy.

Under last year's state budget, the commonwealth was authorized to spend more than$29 billion, which translates to nearly $80 million a day, over $3 million an hour, $55,000 a minute and $920 a second.

Imagine holding nine $100 bills and one $20 bill. Each second that goes by, that $920 disappears and is replaced by another $920 that is also replaced a second later by another $920.

Unfortunately, it never seems to be enough, and government works to find creative ways to generate more revenues rather than looking for ways to cut. Government just doesn't seem to be able to say "no" to spending, turning to the taxpayers to find ways to get them to give more — more for continued spending and borrowing.

It reminds me of a Will Rogers' quote: "Noah must have taken into the ark two taxes, one male and one female, and did they multiply bountifully! Next to guinea pigs, taxes must have been the most prolific of animals."

When taxes are raised, the justification is usually: "It's only a few cents more." However, such an argument rarely reflects the tax burdens already imposed.

If you're holding 100 pounds and someone adds five pounds, they can say "It's not that much weight." However, when you're now holding 105 pounds, it's awfully heavy.

Consider the many federal, state, county, and municipal taxes, fees, and other costs people bear, including: taxes on amusements, building permit fees, capital gains taxes, car and boat license fees, cigarette taxes, corporate taxes, dog license fees, earned income taxes, fishing license fees, environmental requirements, restrictions, and costs, estate taxes, gas taxes, government late fees and penalties, hunting license fees, taxes on liquor, marriage license fees, municipal property taxes, parking meter fees and fines, per capita taxes, personal income taxes, personal property taxes, professional license fees, realty transfer taxes, school property taxes, state and local building code costs, taxes on services, sales taxes, Social Security taxes, speeding tickets and fines, taxes on telephone calls, traffic tickets and fines, user fees, utility taxes, unemployment taxes, vehicle and boat registration fees, water and sewer fees, and zoning fees.

Before we add to these tax burdens, I want to be sure we're squeezing every penny from each tax dollar, which is why the Senate Finance Committee (chaired by Sen. John Eichelberger), and the Senate State Government Committee (which I chair) recently held a joint hearing to look at ways to better control spending and measure program effectiveness.

Until then, I don't see any need to add any new taxes or expand any existing taxes.

— State Sen. Mike Folmer is a Republican representing the 48th District, which includes parts of York County.