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Sunday, October 26, 2008

El Paso County Question 1A

The Gazette has published a number of articles in the last month about El Paso County Question 1A. The ballot measure proposes a one percent increase to the city sales tax. One of the articles gave a list of jobs that would be eliminated if voters did not approve this increase. A co-worked pointed this article out me and mentioned how this made her think about changing her vote to yes, after reading about all the people that would lose their jobs if we voted no. As I read down the list, I was struck by how extensive the list was and by the fact that not one of the items listed was a response to a market failure.

Cutting funding to things such as the park and recreation budget sound like a good idea to me. Do we really need to use tax money to pay for score keepers at city parks? A friend’s daughter worked for the city of Colorado Springs doing just that. Where is the market failure? You cannot say it is a public good for a person to keep score for a group of guys or girls playing a game of softball. The point is, if the city only concerned itself with providing public goods and correcting externalities, we could be voting for a sale tax decrease.

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