An upcoming Cato event examines whether or not you should vote in the election. If you decide to go ahead with it, National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has resources to you help assess the fiscal issues at stake.
Regarding your choice for president, NTU has tallied the spending promises of Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and Gary Johnson. Clinton has proposed dozens of spending increases and a few cuts, which add up to a net $203 billion a year in higher spending. Trump’s promises add up to a net $20 billion a year in higher spending.
By contrast, Johnson is promising to save us money. NTU calculates that his net spending cuts would be $143 billion a year. Such reforms would be a good start, but less than my proposed cuts of $1.2 trillion a year.
If you don’t plan on voting for president, or any politician this year, another useful NTU guide describes other important issues at stake on state ballots. Here are a few highlights:
- Marijuana legalization (and taxation) for recreational use is on the ballot in five states: Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada.
- Tobacco tax increases are on the ballot in four states. My governor’s report noted that a dozen states have enacted tobacco tax hikes just since 2014. In the minds of some politicians, smokers are “deplorables,” so it is easy to target them.
- New taxes on sugary drinks are on the ballot in a number of local jurisdictions. Cola drinkers are becoming a new class of deplorables.
- Voters will decide on bond issues in many places. One statewide California proposition would authorize $9 billion in debt to fund schools and colleges. My governors report explains why state and local debt issuance is bad policy, even for capital improvements. State and local capital projects should be funded pay-as-you-go. It is cheaper, more transparent, and less conducive to corruption.
- Coloradans will vote on Amendment 69, “which would create a government-run health care scheme (ColoradoCare) aiming to cover all residents. The amendment includes a $25 billion tax increase … This would nearly double the state’s budget.” Wow, that’s big.
- Corporate welfare choices are on the ballot in a few places. Voters in Arlington, Texas, will decide on new taxes to fund a $1 billion stadium for MLB’s Texas Rangers. Voters in San Diego will decide on new taxes to fund a football stadium for the NFL’s Chargers.
I don’t know whether or not you should vote for president. But you should check out the NTU guide and www.ballotpedia.org to see what state and local issues you will be able to weigh in on.