In her latest report. Rep. Cynthia Davis,R-O'Fallon, explains why the federal stimulus money in Missouri should be used to reduce taxes:
This year, our state budget added up to about $22 billion. The federal government has offered about $4 billion of economic stimulus money to the state. Of that, about $2 billion must go to Medicaid and education. The other $2 billion is available for us to use as we see fit. While some people may think it would be fun to go on a spending spree, this is not in the best interest of the state. Furthermore, those in the federal government who are sending us this money may not truly understand from where this money is coming..
It is coming from us. The stimulus money is nothing more than a pre-payment from taxes we are going to owe in the future. We are charging today to the proverbial credit card.
The best way to help people is to give them a break on their taxes, which was the gist of SB 71 passed in the House last week. We win both ways. If the constituents save their money, the banks have more to lend out to others who need it. If they spend their extra money, more money circulates in the economy. I voted to give our residents a ½ per cent reduction on their state income taxes. This is the fairest way to spend the stimulus money because it goes to the broadest group of people and would be spread geographically to all parts of the state.
While some belittle the idea, thinking a few dollars here and there won’t make much of a difference, I disagree. It is downright arrogant to presume extra dollars in a paycheck won’t matter. If it were true that a few extra dollars don’t matter, then why do businesses and restaurants offer coupons? Why were people unhappy when gas was $4.00 per gallon instead of $1.99 per gallon? Why do people get up in the middle of the night after Thanksgiving to shop? These examples are proof that a few dollars do matter.
The distinguishing point between two contrasting philosophies comes down to who should decide how to spend the money: the government or the taxpayer? I believe in the intelligence of the good people of Missouri to know how to best manage their money.
Some think that crafting a budget is about finances. However, it really has more to do with philosophy. With the stimulus money, we are charged with determining what would be in Missourians’ best interests for the long term, not for right now. If you hand ten dollars to a child and instruct him to buy whatever he wants in a grocery store, he is likely to come home with ice cream and cake. It takes a mature adult to buy meat and potatoes for the entire family to consume. Likewise, a good budget carefully crafted on principles that are good for all of us will be better in the long run than purchasing fun projects that will win us lots of friends in the short term, but leave us bankrupt over time.
If we expand government programs, we will be obligated to continue to support a higher number of people for future years, when we will not have another boatload of money dumped on us. If we build more buildings, they will need to be heated in the winter, cooled in the summer, and maintained when things break or are vandalized. Buildings create ongoing expenses that go far beyond mere construction.
Making decisions about bunches of money is not as easy as dealing with a scarcity of money. When we don’t have enough, we simply revert to our basic obligations. Here are some thoughts to consider about the offer of stimulus funds:
The money is only “one time” and therefore should not be spent on ongoing day-to-day operations.
Although some may act like they don’t understand where the money comes from, we know it is all coming from our own pockets or we are borrowing from the future and it will come from our children. How can it be fair to take so much from a generation yet to be born? They are not old enough to carry a credit card, yet we are already charging things to them.
Just because Washington, D.C. is spending in an irresponsible manner is no reason for us to do likewise. We take pride in calling our state the “Show-Me State.” In this case, let’s show the nation that we know how to govern. Missouri is already the envy of many states because our budget is in pretty good shape considering the adverse economy. I predict that if we can stay the course with our reforms, Missouri will be the leader among all the other states with our brand of common-sense economic stability.
I believe the people know how to spend their own money better than the government can. At the time of my writing this, it is still unclear what kind of budget we will have by our statutory deadline, which is tomorrow. Let’s see if we can hold the line and govern responsibly