January 25th, 2012, by Jon Whiten Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …
While it’s a well-worn cliché that “nobody likes to pay taxes,” one question isn’t asked often enough: what do those taxes pay for?
According to a new national study, they pay for a higher quality of life for our children.
Investing in Public Programs Matters: How State Policies Impact Children’s Lives, released last week by the Foundation for Child Development (FCD), finds “a strong relationship” between state tax rates and the overall quality of life for children.
The report’s key findings are that “higher state taxes are better for children,” and that “greater investments in government programs are strongly related to better quality-of-life for children in a state.”
The report, along with the annual KIDS COUNT data book that ranks New Jersey fifth — comes as states around the country, including New Jersey, are reacting to fiscal crises with austere, cuts-only spending plan, and it shows the folly of such an approach.
“Although states are currently revenue-starved, this is exactly the wrong time to reduce taxes,” says FCD president Rudy Takanishi. “The revenues generated by taxes should be used to invest more in the education and health of our children. Policymakers must recognize that the cost of shortchanging children today is too high a price to pay in the future.”
There’s good news here for New Jersey: the Garden State ranked first in the nation on the Child Well-Being Index, barely edging out Massachusetts. This finding, based on 2007 data, reaffirms the need to resist further cuts to education and other crucial public programs.
The stakes — our children’s well-being, and our state’s future prosperity – couldn’t be higher.