When in Cheyenne, the weekends, for me, are for catch-up. I started early this Saturday to resolve a backlog of email and then start in on the budget and education bills.
Ordinarily, I cannot do much more in an email reply from home than to briefly say thank you. But, one recent inquiry, about the prospect of a state income tax, merited more time.
A constituent wrote to ask for the Legislature to consider an income tax to be paid by the people who can afford it to make up the shortfall in education funding. My reply, shortened up a bit, follows.
Thanks for taking the time to write. Wyoming is one of six states without an income tax and it is my intent to do everything I can to keep it that way. An income tax invites class warfare and never-ending hikes to fund ever-growing government.
I lived in “the Golden State” for a while before moving back to Wyoming. Pete Wilson, a Republican governor, described California state government as “the giant job-killing machine.” That was due to many things, a punitive “progressive” income tax among them. Every time the state was in a financial crisis, which was often, rather than cut spending, the answer was to “tax the rich.” The top end rate, federal and state income tax combined, could exceed 50 percent.
Employees working for me, too, paid the state income tax of about 10 percent. The sales tax was 10 percent. Property tax on a home ran 5 to 6 times what they do in Wyoming — if you could afford a home. OK, back to the income tax…
Look at the federal income tax. It started as a 1 percent tax that “only the rich will pay.” Generation by generation the “tax the wealthy” drumbeat went on, and the tax went up. Today, everybody is subject to the income tax. Unless you are poor, then it turns into a tax refund, at the expense of hard working men and women everywhere, like you. What happens is before long “the rich” comes to mean anybody with a job!
The federal government has grown in proportion to the amount of tax money available to it. An income tax is a powerful way to raise money, that is for sure — lots of money. The federal government never has enough money, it seems. A Leviathan that only grows and never shrinks.
Anyway, I don’t know how the funding crisis for all of Wyoming government — including education — is going to come out. We might not get it fixed. We’d then come back for a special session. One thing is for sure: cuts are coming. The struggle is to do the least damage to education possible.
Take care, keep warm and God bless!
Dave Kinskey represents Wyoming Senate District 22 which consists of Johnson County and eastern Sheridan county. A businessperson and former mayor of Sheridan, Kinskey can be reached at Dave.Kinskey@WyoLeg.gov or cell 751-6428.