There are two ways of looking at tax dollars. The proper way is to understand that tax money belongs to the people, and is entrusted to government to use responsibly and only when necessary.
Or you can believe that tax money is government’s by right, and it’s politicians’ jobs to suck up every last dime they can.
That view appears to become de rigueur in North Carolina’s Democratic Party, and was encapsulated on the Senate floor on Thursday by Sen. Wiley Nickel.
While debating a bill to continue Republican-led tax cuts, Nickel took the floor to complain that our state government was leaving money on the table. He claimed that tax cuts over the past half-decade add up to $4 billion we “lose” each year.
— Sen. Wiley Nickel (@wileynickel) May 16, 2019
First of all, it’s unclear how the Cary Democrat arrived at that figure. But more importantly, it belies a fundamental misunderstanding of how American government is supposed to operate.
Being able to cut taxes is a success story, meaning that hard-working North Carolinians get to keep more of the money they earn. It should be celebrated, not bemoaned.
When conservatives say we want government to run like a business, we don’t mean that we want to maximize revenue. We mean that we want our elected officials to act like stewards of a precious and scarce resource, leaning into efficiencies and innovating on customer service.
According to the state’s Fiscal Research Division, the Senate bill under consideration would result in a North Carolina family making $65,000 a year owing $639 less in state taxes than they would have before Republicans took over the General Assembly.
That’s a meaningful amount of money staying where it belongs.