Washingtonians work until July 20 to pay for government

And speaking of taxes, the average Washingtonian will work until July 20 to pay for the cost of government, nine days longer than the average American. Overall, Americans will work nearly five days longer than last year to pay for government’s increasing expenses. In total, Washingtonians will work for 202 days in 2003 to pay for the cost of government.

Cost of Government Day (COGD), as calculated annually by the D.C.-based Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), arrives July 20 for Washington this year, nine days later than the national COGD of July 11.

ATR defines Cost of Government Day as “the date of the calendar year on which the average American worker has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of spending and regulatory burdens imposed by all levels of government, federal, state and local.”

Though still ranking near the bottom nationally, Washington did improve from 49th to 45th place. Washington’s slight COGD ranking improvement is likely due to the state’s newfound budget discipline this past year. While COGD does come later this year, some states increased their burden faster than Washington. The overall driver of the later 2003 date is due in part to federal spending increases for the war in Iraq, new corporate regulations and the federal bailout of the states.

The lowest COGD is found in Alaska where workers labored 168 days in 2003 to pay for government’s expenses (June 17). Coming in last, once again, is Connecticut, where 216 days of labor is required (Aug. 3).

“Without our recent no-new-taxes budget, the cost we Washingtonians pay to support government would be even worse,” said Jason Mercier, budget analyst for the Evergreen Freedom Foundation. “There is absolutely no reason why citizens should have to work more than half the year to shoulder the cost of government.”