Balanced BudgetA government budget where there is nodeﬁcit but possibly a budget surplus;revenues either exceed or equal expenditureGeorgia is considering entering a call for afederal constitutional convention to pass abalanced budget amendment. It would take 34states to trigger a convention and Georgia wouldbecome the 19th state to call for a constitutionalconvention. Geargia Senator Bill Cowsert saidfederal spending has escalated over the years towhere each American taxpayer’s share of thedebt has swelled to more than $138,000. Amajority vote of the Georgia House and Senateare all that’s needed to get Georgia GovernorNathan Deal’s signature and add it to the 18states that have passed the current conventioncall. The new amendment would make agovernment balanced budget mandatory.
Sin TaxesA tax on items considered undesirable orharmful, such as alcohol or tobaccoThe Cleveland Browns are asking the city ofCleveland for money taken in by the statefrom sin taxes to pay for $5.8 million inrepairs of their 12 year old stadium. TheBrowns are given $850,000 by the city everyyear to make repairs. This year they areasking for the money for this year and thenext six years in order to make “mandatoryrepairs.” If the city decides to give theBrowns the money they plan on taking itfrom sin taxes administered by the city onalcohol and tobacco sales.
Entitlementa right to beneﬁts speciﬁed especially by lawor contract such as social security, medicaid,and medicare.In a FOX news interview Speaker of theHouse John Boehner stressed the need forentitlement reform. He stated that HouseRepublicans are not responsible for recentlegislation that provided only short-termsolutions for a payroll tax holiday andMedicare payments to the nationsphysicians. When asked if the House willpass a new budget this year with seriousentitlement reform he said that “there areother ideas.” He also said “The idea here isthat weve got to make changes to Medicare,otherwise it will not be there for seniors whocount on it.” This could foreshadow a hugechange in the budget with big entitlementimplications.
Regressive TaxesA tax that is applied uniformly and so ittakes a larger percentage from low-incomepeople than from high-income peopleKansas Gov. Sam Brownback has set anagenda for the current legislative session thatincludes a major change in the state’s incometax system. The disproportionate burden itplaces on low-income Kansans is raisingquestions that demand the close attention ofstate legislators. The governor’s plan is goodnews for most higher-income taxpayers andespecially for small business owners, but it isterrible news for Kansans at the low end ofthe income spectrum. Regressive taxes arenot popular among Kansas’s lower class andthis unfair form of taxing might cause temptlocal legislators to get involved.
Budget Deﬁcitthe amount by which some measure ofgovernment revenues falls short of somemeasure of government spending resulting indebtMadison, Wisconsin public schools arepreparing for a $12.4 million budget deﬁcit inthe coming year. After looking at otherspending cuts such as eliminating the city’smost expensive health insurance option,renegotiating nonunion employee contracts,energy eﬃciency projects, reﬁnancing debt,and raising property taxes the city has cometo the conclusion that cuts in education areinevitable after the recent budget deﬁcit.Public schools throughout the country havebeen facing huge deﬁcits which gives cityoﬃcials the tough decision of what type ofcuts to make to make up for the publicschool’s shortcomings.
Gramm Rudman ActA U.S. budget deﬁcit reduction law providedfor automatic spending cuts to take eﬀect ifthe president and Congress fail to reachestablished targetsIn 1985, the states approached the two-thirdsvotes needed for a national convention toadd a new amendment. The states weretrying to pass a new amendment thatmanually balanced the budget. However,Congress passed Gramm Rudman act whichcalled for automatic cuts if deﬁcit targetswere exceeded. It was the ﬁrst bindingconstraint imposed on federal spending. Itsspending caps have become part of EVERYsubsequent U.S. budget.
Progressive TaxA tax that takes a larger percentage from theincome of high-income earners than it doesfrom low-income individuals such as theUnited States income taxNew Jersey’s tax payers are becomingincreasingly frustrated with how highlyprogressive their income tax is. a New Jerseyfamily of four making $50,000 pays just$709, while a similar family in Pennsylvaniapays $1,535. However, as the income ofindividual’s and family’s their tax rate sharplyincreases as well. This huge diﬀerence in taxdistribution is a problem among the wealthyin New Jersey and could urge state legislatorsto make a change as soon as after theoncoming election.
Tax LoopholeUnintended weakness in the legal provisionsin the tax system used by taxpayers to avoidpaying tax liabilityEvery year large corporations in Florida areable to take advantage of tax loopholes thatallow them to pay little to no taxes. SenatorNan Rich says multi-state corporations getout of paying their taxes by transferringproﬁts to certain subsidiaries set up in otherstates that dont tax certain types of income.Rich has come up with a plan to modernizethe states tax system and get rid of the loophole. Her plan is to require companies tocombine all the proﬁts from theirsubsidiaries to determine what portion ofthe proﬁts would be taxable in each state.This is a loop hole that costs the Floridastate government an estimated $500 millioneach year, it would substantially helpFlorida’s deﬁcit if they can gain that income.
Procurementprocess of purchasing, leasing, or renting ofgoods or services so that they are at the bestpossible cost to meet the needs of thepurchaser in terms of quality and quantity,time, and locationCorruption and bribery has been foundmore common in procurement than inutilities and the department of taxes. This isbecause procurement is the main interactionbetween the institution and commerce.After every transaction, a professional buyermust be satisﬁed that the opportunity cost isacceptable and the purchase is made fairly.Corruption thrives in secrecy; transparencyand accountability have been proven as keyconditions for promoting honesty inprocurement. Good governance isimportant in procurement because it iscrucial that its open in order to keep itsintegrity. Countries from the US toZimbabwe have been researching ways tomake procurement more fair because ofrecent crime.
Deﬁcit Spendingthe amount by which a government, privatecompany, or individuals spending exceedsincome over a particular period of timeDuring its budget proposal next month theObama administration will try to convincelawmakers to revisit the failed attempt by acongressional super-committee to cut thedeﬁcit by about $1.2 trillion. Usually, majorreduction is unlikely in the President’selection year. This year is an exception;lawmakers are focusing on a one-yearextension of a payroll tax cut andsupplemental jobless beneﬁts introduced bythe president last year. As governmentdeﬁcit spending increases the Obamaadministration is keen on making more cutsto counter-act the debt that accumulates.
BoondoggleA project funded by the federal governmentbut is considered to waste time and moneyand is often continued due to extraneouspolicy motivationsThe Army spent $6 billion dollars on faultyradios in a recent boondoggle. In March2010 Taliban ﬁghters began moving intoambush positions along a ridge. The forcesmission was to protect a U.S. reconstructionteam as it met with village leaders, but it wasstuck in place as the Taliban reached theirﬁghting posts. What kept the soldiers fromadvancing was their radios. Fifteen yearsago, the Army launched a program, the JointTactical Radio System, aimed at developingseveral highly compatible "universal" radios.The program burned through six billionwhile producing hardly any working radiosbefore going out of business.
Excise TaxA tax similar to a sales tax that is imposed onluxuries such as gas, liquor, and cigarettesA Democratic legislator in Virginia isproposing a big increase in the state’scigarette tax. A bill by delegate PatrickHope of Arlington would increase the per-pack tax on cigarettes from 30 cents to $1.45and would increase the excise tax on othertobacco products from 10 percent to asmuch as 50 percent. About $23 million ayear from the Excise tax would be used forsmoking prevention programs