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The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Tough Questions, Direct Answers
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Immigration : Tough Questions, Direct Answers
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Responding to HIV/AIDS: Tough Questions, Direct Answers by Dale Hanson Bourke
Raymond A. The term Tax Reform in many ways has become a political inkblot, a Rorschach test, in which each person seems to see either their greatest hopes or fears. One person looks at the inkblot and sees a tax reduction, while another sees an opportunity for a tax increase. One sees opportunities for job creation, while another sees job destruction. One sees fairness, while another sees imbalance. One sees a massive overhaul of our tax system with all aspect of our tax code shifted around on the table like a puzzle, while another sees modest tweaks for our existing system.
The mantra I hear most often is that we need Tax Reform to raise more money for government and to provide more stability for services and programs. However much I may dislike aspects of our tax code, I think the first question we need to ask is not whether our tax code needs improvement - of course it does - but whether we should be first focused on Fiscal Reform. In other words, should we focus always on how we raise money, how we can get more money, or on how we spend it?
see Let me give you examples of some of my priorities, which I think will underscore why I believe we need to think more broadly about the question we are asking. Our tax system is volatile, but before I would look to tax code stability - which no state has figured out - because I think it is critical to think about the creation of political stability. Some people have said that our troubles in the last couple of years are due to the fact that the legislature spent every last nickel during the boom of the 90's.
It is not just that every nickel was spent. Whatever tax code you have, I guarantee if you spend every nickel and borrow on top of that, you will not have stability and the state will suffer. That is a fiscal issue. Even as I desire a better tax system, Fiscal Reform is a critical step that precedes sweeping tax reform. That is why I have been so adamant about creating a "pay as you go" budget policy, avoiding accounting trickery and borrowing. That simply costs us in the long run.
That is why I changed the approach to budgeting so that we don't start with continuing service levels and just keep building on top of them. And that is why I think a top priority of people in this audience should be working with Republican Senator Frank Morse on his proposal to create a rainy day fund in the state budget. That is the measure that should have been on the ballot for voters this year. Let me also address another aspect of fiscal reform, but let me do it with an analogy that I hope you in business will appreciate.
Imagine that I come to you with a business opportunity for you to invest in. And then imagine if I describe the opportunity this way: 1. I have set up a corporation to deliver a product. I am CEO of the parent corporation, and we have subsidiaries. Each subsidiary has an independent board of directors. I have no say in the selection or removal of any director.
Each subsidiary hires its own CEO, without consulting with me. Each subsidiary enters into its own business arrangements, including establishing its own health plan. The product specs, and quality control, are provided by a sister corporation that has a CEO that does not report to me.