Government is a service to the citizens. Each tax needs to go to a purpose. When we pay gas tax, it should go to the roads. When we pay property tax, it should go to education. Sales tax is divided among all the services and should be broken down by how much of it goes to law enforcement, public safety. It should be simple to see our tax dollars transparent, broken down by purpose, office and the service it provides. When we pay motor vehicle registration, it should go to the motor vehicle office and administer the services provided.
Every time Connecticut has a budget problem they lay-off motor vehicle workers. It seems that services to taxpayers are the first things cut when there is a budget crunch. Now it is common to wait hours to register a car, something in other states you can do on a website or in a mall in ten minutes. It is a Connecticut trick to make you think if the budget doesn't increase you will have to wait longer in motor vehicle lines. But motor vehicle fees are high enough so that the service of registering and administering the system can be done conveniently.
Libertarians are fond of saying "Taxation Is Theft." We are talking about the idea of taking my money and giving it to someone else. That is theft. However, if my money is going to a purpose that I can check, that I know why it was taken and how it was used that is a service. If the use of my money is transparent and honest, it is not theft even if I don't agree with all the things my money is used for.
But taxes are administered in ways that are purposefully obtuse. All the money is put in a central fund, and the only info we can find is how much our government costs, not how much revenue is gained by which taxes and where those taxes went. Motor Vehicle taxes, registration and the like, costs about $76 million to administer, more than three-quarters of which is related to personnel. But Drivers' Licensing alone brings in twice that much money every year, not counting other licensing, vehicle registrations, fees, late fees and such. Of all the services our tax dollars provide Motor Vehicle services are a money-maker but the money made is not used to make it convenient for the taxpayers who are served.
Few of us know our mill rate and what that rate means in useful terms. The purpose of the Mill Rate is to add an unneeded level of complexity to trick the taxpayer. Your property is assessed at 70% of its value, and that value is assessed by your municipal assessor. Then it is multiplied by the mill rate. Why? There is no reason not to just multiply the assessed value of your property at a tax rate. Say your mill rate is 30 and your house is appraised at $100,000. The way we figure that is 70% of the value or $70,000 times the mill rate or 3.0%. So your tax is $2,100. But if you want to put it simply your tax is 2.1% of the value of your property.
Simplify our taxes, help the government simplify its operation. Connecticut has about 66,500 employees, or about 5.4% of the workforce and a 6 billion dollar payroll. The median income in Connecticut is $70,000. Government workers average $92,000 per year in salary and benefits. Government employees get a pension, but the vast majority of other employees in this State get a 401k style retirement plan.
Elected and appointed political jobs in Connecticut have permanent staff that does not change when a new person takes the job. These people have a stake in teaching their new boss as well as being sure there is plenty of work for them and their co-workers. The professional government worker is much more informed how government works than the elected officials and they are eager and willing to explain why their jobs are essential, and why the elected official needs them, and why they need their pensions and how much it will cost government if they lose their jobs. These 66,000 are effective lobbyists for their jobs and their pensions.
If the government were a business, a service offered for pay, long ago the business would have simplified the procedures. But because it is government and a monopoly the effort is to complicate procedures and fool the client. I mean the taxpayer. Go to any city hall in Connecticut and find procedures that are impossible to follow, waivers you must sign, and fees to pay on scales that no business would try to calculate. In business, you would find a receptionist at the desk who could take your information and steer you to a website or help you fill out an application for the service. You would not find five highly paid professionals with full tax-payer paid pensions eager to have you sign waivers and agree to procedures you do not understand.
Only government and those businesses highly regulated by the government are designed to confuse you and put you at odds with the service you wish to purchase. If you want a permit or a waiver or a license, you must follow nonsensical procedures that leave you responsible if anything goes wrong. You must affirm half-truths and raise your hand to swear to things you may not agree with to get the government to provide what you are paying for.