All political power is inherent in the people, and governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and are established to protect and maintain individual rights.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Less Free, But Improving

The serfs are a little better off. That's so nice....

Washington State is not very free, according to the libertarian oriented Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

"Washington was among the states that improved the most in overall freedom and consequently moved up five spots in the rankings. Unfortunately for denizens of that state, it had—and still has—a long way to go. Washington is still among the 10 least-free states. Indeed, it only barely cracks the top half of states in personal freedom.

[Government] spending is a bit higher than average, but taxes are slightly lower—a recipe for government debt, which Washington has in abundance. Government employment is also too high. Land-use planning is somewhat centralized."

The Center made these policy suggestions
  1. Reduce spending consistent with the state’s relatively decent tax-burden levels, starting with reducing government employment and spending on natural resources (mostly at the state government level) and sewerage (at the local government level), which is particularly far above national norms.
  2. Enact further-reaching eminent-domain reform.
  3. Reduce centralized land-use planning by repealing or amending the Growth Management Act and Shoreline Management Act.
The Mercatus Center study of Washington State, and the study of several United States.

Retail complications

What certainly classifies as an abuse is what merchants have to do to make an in state retail sale. The merchant gets to add the item's sales tax according to the shipment's destination. This sounds innocuous enough until you realize the state has a crazy quilt of retail sales tax rates.

You can tell the state's tax scheme is too complicated when you look at the Department of Revenue webpage and see they want to know the street address before they tell you the tax rate.

At least the information is available in 6 languages other than English.

Guns too?

The sales tax slurping sound is audible if you need to transfer a firearm from out of state. All such transfers have to go through a federally licensed firearms dealer. Washington State now compels those dealers to estimate the value of the firearm they are transferring and tax you accordingly.

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“It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.”
-- Joseph Stalin