Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Paying for community services: taxes, fees, and Kickstarter?

An article earlier this week in the NYT focused on how a small Kansas town was trying to start a grocery store for itsself.  I have been interested in community-owned stores for rural communities since my clinic was asked to research them by a state agency here in Idaho.  I will write more about that some day after I get the report together; however, for now, I wanted to note a discussion in the NYT article of, a Kansas-specific Kickstarter-like site with the goal of getting people to contribute to specific community projects.    

These are all small projects, but it looks like it is getting some use.  It is an interesting model and goes to the question of why people will contribute to a specific project in a manner of Kickstarter but don't want to pay taxes or fees.  This is doubly curious because people receive federal tax breaks on their local taxes, but many of these Kickstarter-style gifts do not appear to be tax-preferred because they are not to charitable organizations.  On the other hand, knowing exactly where one's money is going goes a long way.  Does the movement speak to the future of public finance? 


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