State taxes and federal taxes are different. For one thing, the federal government can choose to deficit spend and raise taxes once the economy is humming again. The bigger difference, however, is that state taxes support uncontroversial programs that we desperately need. Maybe you think the feds should not support the National Endowment for the Arts or Strategic Missile Defense. But does anyone think we should not fund our schools, our roads, or our police? In the last week, I have heard my mother come home talking about teachers at her school losing their jobs. I have learned that the court system will move even more slowly as a result of budget cuts. And I have learned that the state can no longer respond to certain categories of reported child abuse because our coffers are empty.
April is child abuse prevention month, which makes this last item particularly worthy of attention today. Not only have the reductions caused us to investigate fewer reports of abuse, reunification programs and parent education programs have been gutted. Maybe President Obama should continue to hold off rolling back the Bush tax cuts, but at the state level, raise my taxes, please.