Tax Increases for Jails – an Incredible Waste

Prison photo by Lauren J from FreeImages

The jail situation Arapahoe County, Colorado is so bad, the county wants to burden the residents with another tax increase. Fat chance of getting it passed. Jefferson County and other counties are in a similar predicament. Courts, public defenders, and prosecutors are all over-burdened. Police are unable to respond quickly to calls. Infrastructure is crumbling because there aren’t enough funds. Rather than determining the root cause of the problems, state and local governments continually propose tax increases as the only solution.

The root cause is not insufficient funds. The root cause is that state and local drug laws are redundant. The federal government has a multitude of drug laws. The real solution to insufficient funds in state and local coffers: Repeal state and local drug laws and let the federal government assume the burden of enforcing drug laws, prosecuting offenders, and jailing sellers and users. That would free up millions and millions of dollars that the state could spend on productive purposes.

I get it. This proposal would not go over well with politicians, police, judges, prosecutors, public defenders, and jailers. They have too much to lose. Most notably, they will lose power. And since we won’t need so many, some will lose their jobs. Heaven forbid, they may need to get private sector jobs. No public pensions, maybe lower pay. And that’s the point. The state and local funds could be better spent on people who build roads and do other productive things.

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