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Public Policy Essay

Public Administration always needs funding for various aspects throughout many realms.  From grants to sidewalk repair to going green in residential homes to starting up a business and educational grants.  There are also, as we are currently seeing,  monies coming from the federal government for stimulus payments to US citizens and as proposed by our new President Elect Obama there are policies in the making for a permanent stimulus or tax rebate due to excessive oil prices and changes in healthcare.  The one thing with the majority of the monies being spoken of is that so much comes from the federal government.  This precludes any monies the states may have or have already spent, as in the end they also receive monies from federal agencies.

So here we see a vicious circle of all these people needing money for one reason or another, they spend what they have, apply for grants from the federal government, the federal government says hey ok but in the end, what do we do when the federal government runs out of money?  What do states do when there is no money left to be tapped?  Do they droll at another department because that department may have the monies to continue further?

Let us start with the liquor tax.  Currently the taxation goes like this; the federal government gets approximately 10% of each gallon depending on the proof or volume manufactured (each state seems to vary) of the alcohol.  The higher the proof, the more the taxes they receive.  The state on the other hand receives a much higher revenue from the tax (State Liquor Tax Rates-2008).  Each state has different programs in which the taxes collected helps finance.  The federal government should take only a specified amount, a flat tax from each state for both alcohol and tobacco and keep tally on which states they obtain these taxes from and how much.  When these individual states run out of their own taxed revenue then when they apply for a grant, the grant acceptance and money distribution is then taken from the coffers of the federal government based upon the taxes already received into the hands of the federal government.  This keeps those federal tax dollars focused in one area instead of spread all over the board.  If states run out of money from the federal government through this specified mean then the balloting of measures asking for the public in general to vote on a new tax for this reason, should be implemented.

Some states have public lottery games or gambling which is allowed in public places, of course with age allowances in place.  The federal government has their hands in this pie as well.  I believe that the federal government should step away and not collect taxes on this except maybe through an individual tax return, and allow the states to keep and maintain this taxation as sole entities with a fiscal report as to where these tax dollars are spent.  In addition, taxes collected on gambling should be distributed to the same entities each yr without prevail or each year change their entities of who these taxes go to, to help finance.  This would be akin to alternating weekends of work in the general public forum.

Let us go a bit more local.  Each county has their county has their own form of taxation and ways to obtain revenue.  These counties should work together more as a team than what they currently do.  Instead of them allocating their funds to only the departments within (i.e. city tax on water only for water line improvement) they should all pool their monies together.  There should be a strict fiscal plan in place that determines how much money goes where and for what.  Each department of the county should be made each year to make an honest analysis of what they will need to further any improvements that are necessary and not frivolous and based upon that information, this will determine what departments get what.  Maybe the courthouse has an upcoming need to repair a bathroom where as the dump wants a wall around their facility to improve aesthic purposes.  Which is more important?  This should be obvious.  What if the county sheriff’s department needs to have additional law enforcement but has a lack of cars?  Instead of being allowed to buy the new cars each year, cut the rate of cars bought in half and put two people to each car.  This may only mean the savings from not buying 2 or 3 cars but each dollar helps.

In the end, the county has a complete record of where all the money goes to and they have all worked together as a team and not against each other due to politics and there may also be more money left over at the end of each year which will definitely lessen the amount of money asked for from the federal government.

Healthcare is a big issue.  Public policy should simply enforce specific financial capping rules as to what the healthcare industry can charge for their costs, this is to include doctors and providers of insurance alike.   If these two entities can work together as a team regarding services, payments and insurance under more strict federal guidelines of what can be charged for these instances, then this would make these two entities work more closely together.

All in all, each department of each state, county and city that implements a tax, part of each department should also allocate a small percentage of the tax revenue to a general fund for emergencies or unseen departments that may suddenly need additional fund.  This General fund should also be exhausted before applying for federal grants.

Some may consider this a socialistic view regarding public administration and maybe it is, but if so then take a look into Canada’s or Europes socialization and compare these two to the country of America.  Which one is better off in the long run.  If you can determine that (and it isn’t the USA) then you can determine that they are doing something more correct.


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