With local governments pinched for cash and public schools tethered to the
unpopular property tax, some officials are trying to win support for canceling
some of the sales tax exemptions worth at least $3.9 billion a year.
Really, they ought to try laying off large chunks of their over-payed workers, and replace them with workers contracted from the private sector. For example, there is no reason for the government to have a janitorial crew, or grounds keepers. Both of these services can easily be farmed out more cheaply.
Besides their often inflated wages, government workers also enjoy much more extravagant benefits packages than you will ever find in the private sector, including amazing pensions that end up costing tax-payers a ton of money. This is fat that needs to be trimmed. Trimming this fat is the first place that government officials should be looking, using tax increases of any sort as the absolute last resort. Unfortunately, they do it completely the other way around.
Government workers are not the only problem with fat in government, but they are a big chunk. Removing that fat would be a good first step. Reducing other obvious waste would be a good second step.
Back to the tax exemptions. Removing many of the exemptions would have a negative affect on business. We are already very anti-business in this state, and don't need to drive any more business away. Not having a lot high paying jobs due to our tax-hell status will not help things any. We should be doing all we can to get more businesses to base themselves here. Rather, we have idiots who want to do all they can to drive them away.
The largest gains in revenue could be made by removing the exemptions on food and health care. However, Sen. Jon Erpenbach's plan would still keep the exemptions in for food, health care, shelter, etc. That is good, but I question how long those exemptions will stand so long as government keeps going with this mindset that they need to raise revenue rather than cut fat.