The US is a patchwork of federal taxes, state taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, capital gains taxes, gasoline taxes, tobacco taxes, etc. In addition, there are a myriad of tax loopholes allowing billionaires to pay lower tax rates than the secretaries who work for them. Worse yet, some of the world’s largest corporations are able to avoid paying income taxes, despite billions in profits.
If all of that isn’t confusing enough, taxes in some states are higher than in others, leading to competition between states.
For decades, states have spent more time trying to coax companies from other states than helping their own entrepreneurs to create new companies. Low tax states such as Arizona and South Dakota try to lure away businesses (and jobs) from higher tax states like California and Minnesota where the businesses began and grew, likely because of tax incentives and other state-funded investments in those businesses.
This kind of nonsense has to stop!
Businesses are not created by low taxes. They are created and nurtured in states which value education, innovation, technology, infrastructure, and quality of life.
If states like Arizona and South Dakota want more jobs for their citizens, let them invest in the things necessary to create them. Let’s stop the competition to see which state can cut taxes to the lowest possible rate at the sacrifice of everything else. Let’s level the playing field. Let’s eliminate the multiple layers of taxes. Let’s create a single, federal tax system in which each state charges the same tax based on income and cost of living. (I think we can all agree that a $250,000 salary in Wyoming goes a lot farther than the same salary in New York.) The money would then be parceled out by the federal government based on population and defined need.
This system would end the free ride for low tax states and encourage real development and innovation.
After all, why should Minnesota, Delaware, New York and New Jersey have to contribute far more taxes per person to the government than they get back? And why should states like Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, New Mexico and Wyoming get more out of the federal government than they pay in? And why should companies be encouraged to uproot their offices, production facilities and personnel just because another state offers a slightly lower tax rate?
Think about it.