Outdoor Recreation Industry
Here is a classic case of government that needs revenue (in this case, has lost revenue), and needs another way to get it. It's two choices are, create another tax or rely on a non-tax revenue source. 99.999% of the time, government chooses the first option. In fact, most people do, even if they are not in government. One problem we have as a society is that we don't typically bate different government revenue options. We debate different tax options, which is just one form of government revenue.
Government revenue comes in more than just one size. Taxation is just one of the plates at the table, and it's the one with the worst smelling food on it. There are other plates at the table, each with very simple ingredients that are usually tastier options to eat. They are the multitudes of non-tax revenue alternatives ready to start generating income while keeping the empowerment of people and integrity of government intact. Chris Madsen did a fine job exploring one of those ways in the previously linked article. As he points out;
"In 2016, then Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead assembled a task force to assess the importance of the outdoor recreation industry in the state. The following year, that group issued a report that included some startling figures: In 2017, the outdoor recreation industry generated $5.6 billion in consumer spending. It paid $1.6 billion in wages and salaries and $514 million in state and local taxes. Fifty thousand people were employed in the industry. In 2018, the oil, gas, mining and quarrying sector in Wyoming — the backbone of the Wyoming economy over the last 50 years or more — contributed $7.9 billion to the state’s domestic product. Compare that to the $5.6 billion in recreational spending. And that recreational spending grew by nearly 22% between 2012 and 2017, while the energy industry’s share of our domestic product dropped 2.5% between 2017 and 2018."
The point is that although natural resources are a perfectly good alternative of government revenue, non-tax revenue comes in many shapes and sizes. It helps to look for them and when the usual ones don't do as well, or when taxes aren't cutting it, we need not automatically go to the fail-safe of yet another tax. In this case, that would be a state income tax, for Wyoming, which is one of the few states in the U.S. lucky enough to currently not have one.
We need to start replacing taxes and/or lost revenue with more non-tax revenue options.