Think Globally, Act Locally, Benchmark Publicly
At the Bastrop County Taxpayer's Association (BCTA, http://bastroptaxpayers.org/) meeting last night, we decided we would develop a scorecard on a few items (especially debt per capita in that case, but also taxation levels and school performance - by some metric not clear yet like what fraction of graduates go on to college). Take debt. What are you getting for your debt (that "may" have gone to pay contractor(s) crony to those in power to build big fancy school facilities), and "may not" have been necessary? And why do not more people move here and place their kids in the school system despite spending and borrowing much? Develop benchmarks for "scorecarding" such metrics. For reference, Bastrop Texas has been known recently as the location of recent fires, and where much of the Bernie Movie was filmed (though Bernie was actually in East Texas).
But the point for Fair Tax Nation and other "watchdog" groups to "regulate" by freedom of the press ("without legal force", like DC bureaucrats) the crookedness of "civil servants" we hire to act FOR us, but often instead misdirect money to lobbyists or the people / entities they are bought by.
So, even more directly (for Fair Tax), what if we benchmark and publish a scorecard comparing the states on "compliance with known best practices" in their tax policies like use of sales taxes instead of punishing business, investment, or labor like we punish cigarettes with high taxes (since we do not like cigarettes).
Let me repeat that: Let's (Fair Tax Nation, say, or FairTax.org) benchmark the STATES on compliance with known Fair Tax principles and ALSO compare "results" (like jobs, absolute GDP / capita, and its growth, etc.) to help people know where to expand their businesses, etc. States who win the competition could be clear illustrations to Americans of best practices and their results by state (that could "inform" US public policy). We might even do it for countries abroad as competition for the efforts of Americans frustrated with Neanderthal tax policies here in the US.
Think globally. Act locally. Benchmark broadly.
And hold public officials accountable to use taxpayer money (and tax policy simplicity instead of enslaving complexity) for the PUBLIC good, not their own or that of cronies. So tax regions compete to improve, not get captured by a federal government monopoly.
Not exactly what you're referring to, but this was a survey of 6,000 small businesses covering most states comparing regulations, taxation, etc. http://www.thumbtack.com/survey
The state freedom index maintained by the Mercatus Center covers many related state issues in ranking the states:
Although it includes taxation as part of its economic ranking in proportion to various measures, it probably isn't the same measurement you are considering.
I am compiling (as I have time) information from the States based on Bill Rollyson's link (Thank you, Bill).
Meanwhile consider this http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/11/emulating-estonia/:
By THE WASHINGTON TIMES - The Washington Times Monday, June 11, 2012
Europe is in big trouble. Unemployment remains sky-high, and economic growth averaged a mere 1.2 percent in 2011, with some economies continuing to shrink. Estonia is a remarkable exception to the depressing trend.
One of the Baltic tigers, Estonia adopted free-market policies following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. It instituted a flat tax, free trade and liberalized markets. The Heritage Foundation ranks it 14th in the Index of Economic Freedom. The results speak for themselves. Thanks to a genuine austerity program that imposed real spending restraint, the tiny Eastern European nation’s economy grew 7.6 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Paul Krugman, a New York Times columnist who thinks the government can never spend enough, was offended by the possibility that someone could find inspiration in Estonia. In a blog post Wednesday, he dismissed the Estonian recovery as “incomplete.” Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves responded with bitter sarcasm on Twitter. “But yes, what do we know?” Mr. Ilves wrote. “We’re just dumb & silly East Europeans. Unenlightened.”
According to data from the International Monetary Fund, Estonia doubled its output in just 15 years and had one of the highest growth rates in Europe from 1996 through 2008, when the credit and housing bubbles burst. Mr. Krugman is correct that Estonia suffered a severe economic slump in 2008, as did the rest of the European Union (EU). The economy shrank 18 percent between 2008 and 2009, which coincided with a staggering jump in government spending of 18 percent, as the Cato Institute’s Daniel Mitchell points out.
In the first attempt to deal with the crisis, the Estonian government tried a Keynesian prescription and increased spending. The Estonians, however, quickly realized the futility of stimulus spending and reversed course. Starting in 2009, the country cut civil-servant salaries, raised retirement ages and liberalized labor markets even further. Estonia is running a budget surplus.
Estonia’s 11.5-percent unemployment rate is slightly higher than the EU’s 11 percent average, but it’s far lower than Spain’s 25 percent or Greece’s 22 percent - and robust growth is sure to improve the jobless situation. The national debt in Estonia is just 6 percent of gross domestic product, compared to 100 percent in the United States or 165 percent in crisis-wracked Greece.
True austerity, which reduces the burden of government, is needed to reignite growth all over. Most of Europe practices a faux austerity that merely raises taxes without cutting bureaucracy. America is on a similar path, experiencing the third year of sluggish, barely existent growth.
The East Europeans have shown the world that free-market policies work. Washington needs to follow their lead and embrace smaller government.
The Washington Times