March 1, 2011
This weekend, our nation’s governors convened at the National Association of Governor’s Winter Conference. Predictably, economic issues took center stage and were punctuated by simultaneous news coverage of the union-led siege of Wisconsin’s Capitol.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), “2012 is shaping up as states’ most difficult budget year on record. Thus far some 44 states and the District of Columbia are projecting budget shortfalls totaling $125 billion for fiscal year 2012.” http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=711
An excellent presentation was provided in the opening session by Dr. Michael E. Porter of the Harvard Business School. Porter encouraged America’s governors to consider the need to enhance economic competitiveness and to view enhanced competitiveness as a prerequisite of job creation. He communicated two other simple ideas: 1) state economies are a collection of local and regional economies with differing resources and economic opportunities, and 2) economic growth is often driven by the two factors of productivity and innovation.
It was good to see the attention of America’s state CEOs refocused on basic economics. It is noteworthy that in this particularly auspicious opportunity and in discussing our nation’s fiscal crisis, Dr. Porter’s key theme and advice to these leaders was to focus their efforts to revive their state economies on enhancing competitiveness…In other words, “Get government out of the way!”
The need to protect private property rights is also a basic, fundamental component in the American economy. The ability of individuals to utilize real property resources to advance their economic dreams has historically been an extraordinary catalyst for economic growth and expansion. It can be again…if regulatory and tax policies which limit the freedom to use property for economic benefit are reversed.
Today’s CPR edition was inspired by the simple, “STOP, DROP and ROLL” fire safety technique taught to children and adults as a component of safety education. It is a simple and memorable phrase. Citizens can use this phrase in discussing three easy ways to re-ignite local and state economies.
STOP: State and local government leaders should be encouraged to stop increases in taxes and fees which impact the freedom to put real property to constructive economic use. Passing multi-year moratoria on any new increases in local taxes and fees would represent a genuine commitment to enhancing economic competiveness. Entrepreneurs and property investors are looking for comparatively low risk environments (relative to the passage of new fees or taxes) which could impact return on investment. Government entities must also stop spending in excess of actual revenues.
DROP: State and local government leaders should be encouraged to go one step further and drop property tax rates and fees relative to the use of real property to a rate which makes their jurisdictions attractive for investment. To enhance competitiveness and attract capital, one has to offer an economic environment which is not only attractive, but more attractive than other areas.
ROLL: State and local government leaders should be encouraged to roll back regulations which negatively impact investment. Regulations are frequently referred to as “hidden taxes” as they can produce the same exact effect in the economy as burdensome taxes and fees. For example, the vagaries and cost of time burden often associated with state growth management and local land use permitting rules elevates risk, thereby decreasing the attractiveness of investing capital. To enhance competitiveness, local and state governments must reduce the heavy weight of regulation which currently discourages investment in real property.
Regulation also requires additional public employees to implement and enforce these unnecessary policies and laws. Rolling back regulation is a savvy way for fiscal managers to attack one of the primary cost centers in government – public employee wages, benefits and pensions. Less regulations require less employees to enforce them. (NOTE: If the regulations which created their public jobs has been repealed, public employees cannot rationally protest or picket job cuts, wage cuts, benefit cuts, etc…when the public purpose for these jobs no longer exists.)
These are not new or ground-breaking ideas. In fact, they are very basic economic fundamentals.
Isn’t it time to return to the basics?
Citizens also have a basic role to play in these local, state and national economic debates.
Citizens must communicate the need for economic reforms if we desire to see America’s economy rebound and returned to a land of unlimited economic opportunity. Freedom is not free – or guaranteed. It must be chosen and defended by each citizen and each generation.
By arming citizens with ideas for communicating, such as today’s “Stop, Drop & Roll” talking points and the “opportunities for action” which regularly appear in our weekly e-newsletters, CPR hopes to aid and empower citizens to communicate the importance of property rights and economic freedom with friends, family colleagues and lawmakers.
Special thanks to the Northwest Orange Republican Women Federated club for hosting a speech by CPR Executive Director Carol Saviak at their February meeting and to The Apopka Chief newspaper for their excellent article on this special event.
If you are a private property owner, who believes in the basic ideal of freedom and believes the protection of private property rights is a value which must be promoted in America today, you are invited to join a growing number of Americans who are standing together to promote these values and pushing-back against government overreaches. Join the Coalition for Property Rights today using our convenient online registration http://www.proprights.com/contribute/ or call 407-481-2289 for more information about individual membership or corporate sponsorships. Join CPR today and add volume to our collective voice for property rights!
Reader responses always welcomed! firstname.lastname@example.orgCarol Saviak Executive Director Coalition for Property Rights 2878 S. Osceola Avenue Orlando, FL 32806 407-481-2289 telephone 407-481-0834 fax http://www.proprights.com/