I wrote a post last night about cutbacks and the potential closing of state parks in Georgia that got me to thinking: Where does all of the money collected by the states go?
In Georgia, we pay both a 6% state income tax and at least a 6% sales tax including local options. (In some areas as high as an 8% sales tax.) That's a pretty high combination of tax levies compared to aggregate levels in other states.
I mean really, when you speak specifically about the state and the amount of revenue that is collected, verses the amount that is spent, you have to ask this question. Here are some common answers:
- Police and Law enforcement.
- Fire and paramedics.
However, most of these services either get their money from some another source or they generate their own income to offset their expense. Schools are funded by county property taxes.
County roads are funded by ad valorem taxes on vehicles. There is an additional motor fuel tax on every gallon of gasoline to pay for roads at the state level.
Police and judges collect fines and court costs. If you have ever been cited for speeding, you know that it is not an inexpensive proposition. If you have ever had to call for a paramedic or ambulance, you know that you get a bill. And it's a whopper!.
The simple truth that no one will tell you is that a large portion of revenue collected at the state level goes towards paying debts that politicians of the past incurred for political expediency and for unfunded pensions.
We are essentially paying for the mistakes and miscalculations of the past, and are facing the proposition of diminished services today as a result.
You can't keep borrowing money forever and hope that revenues will keep increasing to both pay the debts and maintain a proper level of essential services.
All we need is common sense and accountability. Yeah, like that's going to happen!
Edited for clarification ...Thanks to Tammy Lankford!
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