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> *High tax isn't a problem by itself. The problem it that high tax states in the US don't turn around and deliver a proportionate amount of public good.

I certainly agree that there's waste, and more taxes leads to more waste. To your point, though, about "proportional amount of public good", I think there's a case to be made that higher tax areas do generally enjoy better services. An example is in quality of public schools, which is very important to me and my spouse.

NYC and its suburbs (including Westchester and Nassau Counties) are very high-tax areas. If you look at the US News ranking of public high school quality[0], you'll find that 42 of the top 50 public high schools in New York State are in NYC, Westchester, or Nassau; 3 more are in southern Putnam County (just north of Westchester) or western Suffolk County (just east of Nassau).

There are legitimate questions to be asked about how much signal is in USNWR's rankings, but the quality of schools is one of the things that keeps my spouse and me in the NYC metro area.

[0] https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/search?st...






Is it the quality of the schools as a result of the high taxes, or is the high tax area drawing only high net worth individuals who have more time and money to invest in their children, leading to higher performing students in the same old schools?

> or is the high tax area drawing only high net worth individuals who have more time and money to invest in their children, leading to higher performing students in the same old schools?

I think the effect is large for schools in particular because schools are mostly funded by property taxes which are directly applied to the residents (either directly or via landlords).

I think the relationship between taxes and any given quality metric is going to depend greatly on the who collects the tax, who delivers the service and what the funding route looks-like. There's much less opportunities for waste if a town is using local tax revenue to pay for local services. It's state and federal taxes are at the biggest risk of being wasted on boondoggle projects and graft.

It's a complex problem. The higher a level something is done on the more overhead and the more opportunity for waste but it also has a homogenizing effect because resources are allocated centrally. Central allocation has big risks (if the central authority doesn't want the things you do you're screwed) and less opportunity for compromise (we will never have a federal gun control solution that results in SF, NYC and Alaska all being happy).

IMO the extra waste is not worth the homogenizing effect or the risk in the overwhelming majority of cases. Government decisions should be made and things should be done (including taxes to pay for those things) on the lowest level possible.




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