As Citizens of the Salida School District we are being asked to agree to property tax increases this fall to support the fiscal needs of the school district. When considering whether or not to support these initiatives it is helpful to consider the consequences of national economic policy and its impact on local government.
One of the truly amazing legacies of the Reagan era is the concept that cutting taxes is an ethical issue. The concept that has been ingrained in our society is that government is essentially too large and inefficient to provide services so we should starve government by cutting taxes and with that extra money empower individuals and businesses to care for themselves and their employees.
The net effect in the Bush era has been fairly clear; give money back to the wealthiest Americans through stock dividend tax cuts and capital gains tax cuts while spending ungodly amounts of money, off the books, in the Middle East. All of this has left a need for significant spending cuts in government programs.
So if you are a local school district in Salida, Colorado you are left with unfunded mandates from the Federal and State government. These become funding needs that, inevitably, you turn to your local citizenry to pay for.
In other words, tax cuts on the federal level can lead directly to tax increases on a local level. So when I am voting this fall to increase my property tax burden I am going to remember to simultaneously look very hard at national and state level politicians and ask how their fiscal philosophies might impact local institutions over the next four years.