States across the country are hurting. High unemployment numbers and reduced corporate profits have gutted tax revenue. At the same time, every state besides Vermont has a law requiring a balanced budget. As such, state governments are getting desperate to make ends meet.
A recent article in Forbes highlighted the lengths to which some states are going. They’ve been slashing budgets to the bone, but you can only cut so deep without compromising basic services. Thus, they’ve gotten creative when it comes to generating revenue.
Here are some of my favorites:
- California has proposed changing the date on state paychecks from June 30th to July 1st to “save” $1.2B (on paper) during the current fiscal year. It’s unclear what would happen next next fiscal year, when that $1.2B hits the balance sheets.
- Georgia lawmakers have proposed a “pole tax” — a $5 fee levied on strip club patrons. It didn’t pass.
- New York has proposed to put ads on garbage trucks and to institute an 18% tax on “sugary” drinks. The governor has approved a 46% increased in tobacco taxes and a 58% increase in wine taxes.
- An Oregon lawmaker proposed a $98 per ounce tax on medical marijuana, and even pushed to have the state do the growing. These measures never made it out of committee.
- A Michigan Senator introduced a bill to levy a $250 fee on strippers. The state might also agree to house California prisoners to make extra money, though it’s unclear to me how California would be able to pay.
- Nevada increased hotel taxes from 9% to 12%, and a Senator from Las Vegas has proposed a $5 tax on prostitute tricks. The latter measure didn’t pass. Even if it had, I’d think it would pretty tough to enforce.
Now… Just imagine what this list would look like if the Federal government wasn’t allowed to run a deficit!