More Money Wasted on Economic Development

On December 19 I wrote an article about the waste of money we know as "economic development". Citing research showing that it is practically impossible to identify any positive returns on "economic development" - better known as corporate welfare - I noted:

The Shutdown: A Simulation of Fiscal Panic

The partial shutdown of the federal government continues. It may continue for some time still. I have an idea of how we could bring it to an end - and never, ever see another shutdown: suspend taxes and government regulations for the duration of the shutdown. 

I guarantee Democrats and Republicans would agree on a budget every year from now to the next Big Bang.

At the end of the day, the shutdown does not have much of a negative effect on most Americans. However, there is a segment of our population that could be hurt. The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, WTE, reports (December 29, page A1 print edition):

The Funding Gap Myth Revisited

On demand from readers, I explain again the problems with the funding-gap chart that the Economic Analysis Division, and now the Wyoming Taxpayers Association, has put out:

Merry Christmas!

Economic Development: A Waste of Money

This past weekend the Wall Street Journal - one of the few remaining newspapers in this country - published an excellent article on so-called economic development (Review section, p. C4). The article is penned by Nathan M Jensen, professor of government at University of Texas, Austin. He is also a senior fellow of the Niskanen Center, a breakaway from the Cato Institute.

In a new book, which he introduces in the Wall Street Journal article, Jensen does what I have been asking for since the first day I heard about Governor Mead's ENDOW project: an evaluation of whether or not corporate welfare works.

Emerging Opposition to Tax Hikes

Our voices against higher taxes are still way too few, too weak and too modest. We need to speak up more, spread the word farther and formulate even better arguments. 

But there is a faint light of hope here and there. Take them not as signs of victory, but as encouragements to double your efforts. Behold an article in the Casper Star Tribune by Chris Boswell, former gubernatorial chief of staff and vice president of the University of Wyoming:

Big Government Is Bad for the Tax Base

In my account of the tax hikes that the Revenue Committee has proposed, I concluded that while they seek to raise every tax they can find, the Appropriations Committee appears to be uninterested in meaningful spending reforms. As a result, our state government is rolling into 2019 without even a remotely credible path to fiscal sustainability:

Tax Hikes In Every Cardinal Direction

You thought last year's Taxmageddon was bad? Hold on to your hat. And your wallet, because you are in for a ride.

Last week I explained that the Revenue Committee's ambition to broaden the sales tax to services would significantly increase the impact of the cost on your bottom line:

Abortions, Medicaid and the Welfare State

I did not plan to write as much about Medicaid as I have done recently, but the issue keeps popping up. One reason, of course, is that it is a major cost item for us the taxpayers; another is that Medicaid is being used for ideological purposes by the left, in their unrelenting quest for single-payer health care. 

Told You: Watch Out for Medicaid Expansion

On November 13, I noted that there were renewed calls for Medicaid Expansion here in Wyoming. Three neighboring states passed expansion measures on their November ballots, which prompted the Casper Star Tribune to public a long article favoring the same here in Wyoming. In an analysis of their pro-expansion argument I concluded:
Hopefully, there will be enough common sense summoned in the legislature to stop Medicaid expansion from happening. Our health care system here in Wyoming is dependent enough on tax-paid health insurance as it is; any expansion would effectively socialize our health care system. This is an under-appreciated issue. More to come.
Never bark at the Big Dog. The Big Dog is always right. Behold today's Wyoming Tribune Eagle:

Sales Tax on Services: What to Expect

When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I spend all my days trying to explain why it is a bad idea to raise taxes. People then say "I bet it's a full time job", which is correct of course. 

Provided your full time job is 40 hours a week. It takes far more than that to get the message out what a bad idea big government really is. 

Mead's Budget Relies on Creative Factoids

It is worrisome to see Governor Mead shift foot in his last budget, from some kind of fiscal restraint back to spending. Hopefully, I am wrong in assuming that this echoes a sentiment from the legislature, namely that the good old days of milk, honey and piles of cash are coming back again. 

Reports the Wyoming Tribune Eagle (Tuesday, p. A1, print edition):

Forecast: State Spending Flat in 2018

In its preliminary report of 2018 state spending data, the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) predicts that Wyoming keeps its outlays flat. 

The report is an interesting read, as always, but we also have to keep in mind that of the raw-data producers out there, NASBO is not at the top for methodological rigor. I explained in the third part of my state budget series (which is resuming next week, by the way), the top spot goes to the Census Bureau, but:

Revenue Committee Uses Flawed Economics

In its Thursday meeting, the Revenue Committee approved a bill to introduce a sales tax on services while lowering the overall state sales-tax rate (scroll to 1:20:00 in the video below).

Weekly Economic Review

Our lawmakers here in Cheyenne are planning to raise taxes on the tourism industry - by a lot. In the meantime, the first issue of my new w...