Budget / Transparency

Commentary: Cost of Government report sheds positive light on Louisiana, but national trend very alarming

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Last week, on August 19th, Americans for Tax Reform revealed their annual Cost of Government Day, which, according to ATR, is the day “on which the average American has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government on federal, state, and local levels.” As this year’s Cost of Government day landed on August 19th, this means that Americans spend 231 days of the year working just to pay off imposed government costs. More astounding is that when calculated, this means 63.41% of our national income is consumed by government costs. This distressing news if further compounded when one considers that only two years ago, Cost of Government Day fell on July 16th.

One reassuring aspect is that Louisiana, for once, ranked at number one in something other than obesity, poverty, failing schools, etc. Along with Alaska, Louisiana’s cost of government day for 2010 was July 28th, the earliest COGD in the nation. This is taken with a grain of salt, however, when compared to 2008’s national COGD of July 16th. What we are witnessing is an incredibly dangerous slide into insolvent big government costs. The pace indicated by the month difference over two years is breathtaking, but only in a troubling way. ATR diagnoses in detail the many root causes of this increase in government costs. Two particularly interesting explanations include increase in government employee payroll and taxpayer migration. Because Louisiana has one of the highest government worker rates per capita, as well as a state income tax, it’s extremely surprising to see our state ranked at the top.Either way, the report confirms that our nation is embarking on a downward spiral into a black hole of government costs and endless growth. Louisiana is just the state slowest in teetering over the brink.

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