Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The True cost of the Governor's Tax Increase

Today the Tax Payers Foundation released an estimate that the Governor’s Gross Receipt tax and payroll tax would eat up 1.3 percent of the states economy or over 7 billion dollars, this is actually an underestimate of the taxes true cost. To estimate the true cost of the tax you have to take into account its deadweight effect, deadweight loss is something that a lot of non-economist have a hard time understanding. Deadweight loss is the loss in economic activity, benefit, which is caused by something that restricts the market place, be it a tax, trade barriers, monopolies, ect. The way that a tax causes a deadweight loss is that when the government takes money out of the economy in the form the tax, there is a loss of economic activity in two ways, first part of it loss to overheard and the other part is loss from a direct decrease in economic activity. When the government takes money out of the economy consumers and businesses have less money with which to purchase goods and services and to save. If people and business are buying less that means other business will see their revenues decrease, which means that those companies will have less money to invest in expanded production capacity and will higher fewer new employees. If people and businesses have less money to save that will else cut down on investment and economic growth. Most economic estimates put the deadweight loss as between 60%-100% of the total value of the tax, so the real cost to the State of Illinois economy from the Gross Receipts and Payroll tax is not 7 billion dollars but 11.26-14 billion dollars a year or 2.08%-2.6.2% of the state of Illinois Gross State Product. In the long run this cost compounds, for example Illinois GSP is about 538 billion and assuming a 3% year rate of growth the state economy would be 554 in 2008, 570 in 2009, 587 in 2010 and 605 in 2011 with out the Governor’s tax increase, with it the state GSP would be, using the low end estimate for the loss to the state economy, 542 in 2008, 547 in 2009, 552 in 2010 and 557 in 2011. So over 4 years the Governor’s tax increase would take about 48 billion dollars out of the Illinois economy. While this is a simplistic estimate it does a good of showing the effect that this could have on our state.

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