Brendan Miniter argues that "Voters Still Want Tax Cuts" and I think he's right, but his article listing examples of how states are scrambling to cut taxes every which way really highlights to me that if voters really want to get what they want they need to divest political power from the federal government and get more local.
In Arkansas, home to the megaretailer, one of the hottest issues in the governor's race this year is repeal of the state's hated 6% tax on groceries. Getting rid of the food tax has been on the conservative agenda for years, and four years ago repealing it even made it onto the ballot, but lost by a wide margin. Now with the state enjoying a large surplus and Gov. Mike Huckabee retiring, the stars are aligning to abolish the tax that brings in a mere $200 million a year. And it's Democrat Mike Beebe who is leading in the polls with his promise to phase it out. ...
In Colorado, the Republican foundation has crumbled in the past few years. It shouldn't be lost on anyone on the right that two years ago GOP Gov. Bill Owens led the effort to suspend the state's Taxpayers' Bill of Rights to allow for sharp increases in spending and a five-year suspension of rebates the state would otherwise have been forced to mail to taxpayers. Gov. Owens is on his way out now, and it should come as no surprise that Republicans will almost certainly see Democrats capture the governor's mansion next month. Rocky Mountain Republicans are divided and disillusioned. Democrats are not.
The unreported story this election cycle is that while scandals and the war have dominated congressional races, on the state level conservative economic ideas are still winning elections. Voters continue to support promoting economic growth by cutting taxes.
But even states who want higher taxes (*cough* California *cough*) should be able to get what they want, and they'd be better able to if the distant feds didn't have their hands in so many pies. Want public health care? Take it up with your state. Want to follow Kyoto? Do it at a state level, like California. Let's see what happens, and maybe you'll win other states to your cause. Part of the idea behind the federal system is that states should experiment and compete to create the best legislation, but when the federal government is so all-encompassing there isn't much competition to be had... with predictable results.