A misconception about voting Libertarian is “that it is a wasted vote.” This mentality keeps many people of good conscience from voting Libertarian or for any candidate not of the two-party system. However, voting for a third-party candidate is never a “wasted vote.” The wasted vote is a vote not cast at all.
There was an election on Nov. 5 in which several propositions would greatly affect those of us living and working in Texas. One proposition in particular drove my desire to go to the poles Tuesday. That was Proposition 4.
Proposition 4 was a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution that would PREVENT the state legislature from ever creating a state income tax. It read:
“Proposition 4: Prohibiting state income tax on residents. The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income. This aims to make it more difficult for future legislatures to enact a personal income tax in the state.”
Texas is one of seven states that does not have a state income tax. Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming — levy no personal income tax. This means that the other 43 states levy an income tax in addition to the federal income tax deducted every paycheck.
Proponents of a state income tax claim that it is a means to reduce sales taxes and assist others in need. So far, the only state I have personally seen this in is Oregon, where there is no state sales tax.
Oregon does, however, have a state income tax. Oregon has four income tax rates, from 5% to 9.9%. Oregon taxpayers can subtract from their state taxable income some or all of the federal tax they paid. The other 40 states do not share this benefit.
Other states with state income taxes do not demonstrate such a benefit and have sales taxes at or above those in Texas. Some sales taxes within these states, like at Chicago’s O’Hare airport, have a combined sales tax of 17%.
Levying a state income tax in addition to the sales taxes we currently pay is too much for people living paycheck to paycheck in this state.
When a state income tax burdens these people, many will seek government assistance for food, housing, utilities, and medical care. The increase in applications for government assistance then fuels tax proponent’s arguments of keeping or even raising taxes to shoulder the economic burden these people now have.
When this happens, even more people begin applying for government assistance. As the volume of applicants increases, so too does the cry for more taxes come from the Bernie Sanders’ and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s of the political world.
Taxation then becomes a self-perpetuating system of taxation and redistribution that increases the tax burden on the people and makes many become dependent rather than independent on the state for survival.
The simple solution is to reduce or eliminate the tax burden instead of growing it.
This does not mean Libertarians are against helping people. Quite the contrary, many Libertarians donate money and time to helping others through non-profit organizations. These organizations are actually more efficient in addressing the needs of each individual instead of giving a blanket solution to everyone.
As you can see, the wasted vote is the one not cast. So if Proposition 4 fails, and a state income tax becomes a reality in the future, you have only yourself to blame if you did not vote this past election.