Sunday, September 03, 2006

State of Ohio Budget Highlights, FY 2006-2007

After posting my last entry, I got to thinking about the broad issue of taxes. The idea of being taxed at all is nowadays something like anathema. Kevin Bacon wants to cut taxes on the apparent theory that the less people are taxed, the better off they are, quite as if the revenues collected just went into a black hole somewhere. It's not just Republicans who talk this way. I just saw an ad touting how much Sherrod Brown has cut taxes during the course of his political career to date.

The fact is, of course, that without taxes you can't pay for the services that good government is supposed to provide. It seems to me that you can debate the priority that these services should have, or whether some services are necessary, or whether funds are administered efficiently. But just to tell people you'll cut their taxes. . . . Well, it seems absurd for citizens to uncritically embrace that as an unalloyed good, and slightly cynical for office holders and office aspirants to promise it without laying out the trade-offs.

Of course, that would require addressing matters in their full complexity, and it's an unhappy fact of life that not one voter in a hundred, maybe a thousand, would sit still for that. We live in a society that reflects in many ways exactly what the Founders feared might happen: a republic filled with citizens who lack the civic virtue required in a healthy republic, a republic where liberty has led to license and the door opened to all sorts of evils, especially, at the moment, plutocracy.

I say this as if I'm a better citizen, but ninety percent of the time I'm not. I'd just like to improve that percentage some. Anyway, clicking the title of this post will get you on your way to a quick education in the state's budget -- what comes in and where it goes.


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