Making Taxes Hard To Pay

Reviving a centuries' old debate, Ryan Sager wonders if the pain of paying taxes keeps them lower. Further thoughts at this blog:

[T]he complexity of a state’s tax structure is related to its having higher taxes. We know that a locality having a lot of renters leads to pressure for bigger government, because renters aren’t as aware of how tax costs get passed on to them as homeowners are. We know that when the government funds its spending with public debt the taxpayers are shielded from feeling the full cost of government, and thus they let it grow. All of these things, though, could be mere correlation, not causation though, the trends are suggestive. The EZ-Pass study I write about in the piece, however, gets us a little closer to proving the causation: Easier to pay tolls equals higher tolls; and the toll increases are suddenly less responsive to the election calendar.