April 15 has long been one of the most dreaded dates on the calendar, courtesy the Internal Revenue Service. Thanks to the weekend and a holiday, however, filers this year have until Tuesday to get things in order.
No matter. The federal government will still land a record haul, well beyond $3 trillion of what Americans earned in 2017. But on federal tax day, it’s easy to overlook the massive tax liability imposed on Americans by every other level of government.
HotAir.com’s Andrew Malcolm reports that, according to the Census Bureau, state and local governments last year collected a record $573 billion just in property taxes — or about $1,759 for each one of the estimated 326 million Americans. State and local governments also pocketed a record $386.2 billion in sales and gross receipts taxes, and $405 billion in income taxes.
Add it all up, and it comes to $1.4 trillion — on top of that $3.3 trillion or so collected by the feds.
The HotAir report notes that the property tax total is up almost $22 billion over the previous record, set just a year earlier in 2016. The income tax haul is up almost $5 billion over the previous record in 2015. Sales and gross receipts taxes rose modestly in comparison, but still came out $250 million ahead of the previous high in 2015.
And as Mr. Malcolm pointed out, that doesn’t even include taxes on alcohol, entertainment, gasoline, public utilities, tobacco and race track bets. Those revenues are hardly insignificant, accounting for billions more.
One would think that record-setting tax collections would have state and local politicians smiling. Think again. Here in Nevada and across the country, state and local governments continue to cry poverty and seek more ways to separate members of the taxpaying public from their money. Simply put, there is no amount of money that will sate the public sector.
When record high tax revenues aren’t enough, perhaps we’ve reached a point where government spending has spiraled out of control. Perhaps it’s time to recognize that politicians who promise all things to all people have created a looming fiscal crisis — characterized by massive pension liabilities, soaring health care costs and other “benefits” — that can’t be solved by constantly soaking the productive.
Don’t expect state and local officials — in Nevada and nationwide — to acknowledge this reality. That would risk their cushy sinecures. But as blogger and law professor Glenn Reynolds regularly states: That which can’t go on forever, won’t. And when that happens, promises that can’t be kept, won’t.