Letter from a RINO

A blog reader sent a thought-provoking guest column. Enjoy!


Guest columnist: Tex Adams

More On Corporate Income Tax in Wyoming

Here are my two latest articles on HB220, the corporate income-tax bill:

This fight is not over. Be vigilant, dear taxpayer!

Jobs in Wyoming: At Last A Recovery

While our legislators are busy thinking about raising our taxes, we are going to take a quick look at the latest employment numbers from our state and the rest of the country. After a long, long slump, we finally saw some job growth: private-sector employment increased by 3.3 percent in 2018. This was enough to put us in sixth place among the several states:

HB64: Can You Afford Inflation Indexed Fuel Tax?

The legislature keeps moving forward with tax hikes. The bill to index-link the gasoline tax, HB64, has been received for introduction in the House. Watch it carefully - you won't feel the pain from this one right away, but as time goes by and 2-3 percent inflation keeps eating away at your paycheck, this bill will raise the gas price at the pump even if the gas price itself stays unchanged. The tax, namely, will increase with consumer price index, not the gas price. 

More Creative Facts to Defend HB67

Like the old saying goes: if you repeat a lie often enough, people start believing it. 

One of the biggest, most prolifically shared lies in Wyoming today is that our state can afford higher taxes. We can't, and it doesn't matter how reputable the person is who keeps suggesting otherwise. The most recent iteration of the argument for higher taxes comes in the form of a column over at WyoFile. The author is none other than Mike Madden, former House chairman of the Joint Revenue Committee and a retired economics college professor.

Can Liz Cheney and the GOP Save America?

In my latest article on Larson's Political Economy, I explain how the Republican party leadership is already losing the 2020 election - and not just losing their majority and possibly the presidency, but America as a country. Wyoming's own Representative, Liz Cheney, the new Conference Chair for the GOP in the House, is part of a leadership that is shooting blanks in the very fight for our nation's survival:

Systemic Budget Reform, Part 2: HB126

Last Friday I published an analysis of HB172, which calls for a modest reform to state spending. The idea is to stabilize state spending over a business cycle to avoid the kind of runaway spending binges that tend to come with windfall gains or cyclical surges in revenue. I concluded:

Systemic Budget Reform, Part 1: HB172

As of this morning there are 215 bills on the House side and 132 bills on the Senate side. With a total of 347 bills we are drawing closer to that 500-bill session that some people have predicted.

So far, I have done three reviews of the bills filed - there will be more to come - and I still urge attention to the tax-hike bills HB 64, 66, 67 and 68 on the House side, as well as SF16 on the Senate side. 

The Lodging Tax: A Quick Review

With HB66, the Revenue Committee wants to create "a statewide sales tax on sales of lodging services". This tax is often sold as a freebie for Wyoming, as most people paying it are people just visiting or traveling through our state on their way somewhere else.

That is a moot point. In fact, this tax is a bad idea, in particular for two reasons.

Legislative Bills Review, Take 3

Here is my third review of the bills as they have been registered to date. For my earlier reviews, click here and here. Among the highlights below: HB153 and HB172. 

January CREG: The News Is What's Not In It

I have received questions about the January CREG report. Since it will be used as a basis for the budget debate during the legislative session, it is understandable that the report draws attention. 

Unfortunately, there is not much news to be extracted from it. My recommendation regarding CREG reports in general still stands. Before I reiterate it, let us listen to CREG's own summary of their January report:

Single Payer Health Care On Its Way

Sometimes I feel like Warden Ranken, trapped inside the engine on that disaster-bound train in Andrei Konchalovski's epic movie from 1985. 

I have explained to our elected Republicans over and over again (Liz Cheney included) that you cannot fight the left by just calling them socialists. You have to fight them on issues - and explain what your alternative is, and why and how it is better for low-income and middle-class families. 

Sadly, the Republicans won't listen. If they continue to think that all you need to do is throw political labels around, the left will win. My latest essay on Larson's Political Economy gives an example of what they will do to our great country:

Private Insurance Beats Medicaid Expansion

Once a month I have to write another article to warn about Medicaid Expansion. In November I explained what a budget disaster Medicaid Expansion had become in Maine. I then noted that this is not a problem for Expansion advocates. To those who crave Medicaid Expansion, paying for it
is an afterthought. There is always another taxpayer there to pickpocket, but to make expansion more tempting they try to give us the impression that the taxpayer to be picked clean today, is not you or me. It is the next guy, you know that guy over there, the one who pays federal income taxes... 

More Errors by the Revenue Committee

I need to follow up on yesterday's article about the pamphlet "Wyoming's Tax Structure" that the Revenue Committee has distributed to our legislators. I thought I had uncovered the worst perpetration of statistical errors in that article, but I was wrong. There is an even bigger blunder to be reported.

Put lightly: if any legislator votes for higher taxes based on this pamphlet, I will sell him a barrel of snake oil and throw in a bridge in Brooklyn for a dollar.

Legislative Bills Review, Take 2

Here are more bills for you to keep an eye on. Two of them raise taxes, one introduces more bureaucracy to manage current taxes and one - yes! - wants a little bit of relief from taxes. 

HB93 - Tourism districts. This sounds like the permission to build a Reeperbahn or Christiania in Wyoming. That is not the case, of course... 

Sloppy Errors by the Revenue Committee

The Revenue Committee just published a brochure called "Wyoming's Tax Structure: An overview of the state's revenue and how it compares to neighboring states". This report, sent out to all legislators, is supposed to present the case for higher taxes. (You can probably obtain this report by contacting your representative or senator.)

Consensus Emerging on Tax Hikes

Right off the bat, the 2019 legislative session has set its crosshairs on tax revenue. This theme ran through the declarations of intent from both Senate President Perkins and House Speaker Harshman. It also popped up in not-so-subtle terms in Governor Gordon's first speech.

The official story is that this legislature will seek "stabilization" of tax revenue, and to create a shield that will protect government from the business cycles of the private, tax-paying sector of the economy. In reality, this means:

A Tale of Two States

Two states, rural, rich in natural resources and - by their own fault - with governments dependent on taxes on extraction of those resources. 

Two ideas on how to handle the downturn in tax revenue. First, a story from the Casper Star Tribune (CST):

Look What Lame-Duck Republicans Did!

There is a good rule in politics and policy making:  never give government powers you would not trust in the hands of your worst adversary. 

Apparently, the Republican House majority of the last Congress were not too worried about that. Right before Christmas they passed a bill - a bad bill - that (and I do not say this lightly) has a distinct Orwellian smell to it. 

Should the State Buy Gold and Silver?

From time to time, there has been talk about introducing bills in a legislative session mandating that some of the state's savings be invested in gold or silver. Rumors have it such a bill is on its way this session again - I look forward to reading it - but before any such bill shows up I would like to make a couple of points on this matter. 

Legislative Bills Review, Take 1

There will be many more opportunities to review bills as the 2019 legislative session unfolds. Here is a first rundown of what our beloved elected officials are up to; for references, open this link in a separate tab where you can review each bill in detail. 

Wyoming Has A High-Cost Government

Some truths need repetition. For example: if you raise taxes, people will move to other states with lower taxes. As plain, simple and obvious as this truth is, some people still believe that it is a good idea to raise taxes here in Wyoming. 

Those tax-hikers apparently do not believe that there is a correlation between higher taxes and outbound migration.* Therefore, I spent the past two days assembling, processing and analyzing interstate migration data, and data on taxes and private-sector GDP, from 2005 to 2016. This is the largest set of data on this subject that I have reviewed (612 pairs of data from the 50 states plus the District of Columbia) and as Figure 1 below explains, the results are unmistakable:

A costly government causes people to leave.

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...