|By The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
Our view: Understanding public budgets and spending requires much deeper thought than what political operatives throw at us in 30-second ads.
A hotly debated election-year question is whether
The answer isn't clear cut, so what politicians and special interests like to do is take statistics most favorable to their candidates' cause and repeat them over and over again like a car insurance commercial until we have the information memorized whether we want to or not.
Informed voters need to dig deeper. The latest "Facts & Figures -- How Does Your State Compare?" pamphlet published by the nonprofit
It's probably no coincidence that one of the first tables in the pamphlet is titled "State-Local Tax Burden." Unfortunately, the figures are from fiscal year 2011, which started in
At any rate, in FY 2011,
Any single number doesn't tell the whole story.
Another table worth noting in the
The challenge for government officials is to control public spending increases, which reduces the need for higher taxes and fees. However, if the cost of food, health care, utilities, fuel and other things governments buy continue to increase, the only way to keep pace without raising taxes is to grow the tax base. That's why census numbers showing a population decline in a number of
The pamphlet is a good reminder that one statistic in a 30-second ad can't possibly put all this in context, and hopefully voters won't fall for this time-honored election-year staple.
(c)2014 the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.)
Visit the Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wis.) at www.leadertelegram.com
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