I am just elated that the State of Indiana will be giving my wife and me a combined tax refund of $222 in the form of a credit on our 2012 state tax. That won’t buy you much these days but the money itself is not important. What is important is what the refund represents for all the citizens of our great State. Having worked in accounting and financial management at all levels in government you just don’t see this happen. Oh yes, we have been given tax refunds from the federal government but not because there was a surplus of funds. That purpose was mostly advertised as an economic stimulus. Yet we knew that this wasn’t always the case especially when it happened close to elections.
Many politicians crave more revenue earned or borrowed so they can spend more. I can’t say that about Governor Daniels and our State Legislature. They have achieved what Washington has not been able to achieve. They cut spending and suppressed the idea that spending more is always better. They also resisted expanding the size of state government. Bigger government results in bigger spending, and often dilutes freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution. Big government also hurts small businesses which does not have the capability to compete with government, or the money to pay the cost of meeting government mandates. We all know small businesses provide needed jobs and boost local economies. Likewise new small businesses could fill much of the vacant commercial space we see in our community.
I would hope that our local elected officials would follow in the footsteps of Governor Daniels and the State Legislature. Carmel, Clay Township, and Hamilton County are the richest in our State but also have number one debt rankings in their categories. This means that they are spending a lot more taxpayer money than they are taking in compared to their peers in our state. Debt in itself is not bad; however the level of debt should be a concern. For example, the recent refinancing of $153M of debt will cost Carmel taxpayers over $500M to payoff. Unfortunately, choices are limited when you can’t pay the bills.
These are facts, not a personal indictment of any elected or appointed officials. If we had better leadership on all fronts maybe we wouldn’t have to worry about political disagreements over bailouts or refinancing. Do you think someday Carmel taxpayers will receive a tax refund from the City Government? Maybe Mitch would be interested in being Mayor after he finishes at Purdue.