How can states raise revenue?

John Falconer writes: Re. “Can states wean themselves off gambling, mining and property revenue?” (Thursday). States have obligations to provide a raft of services to the communities: health, education, police, infrastructure and many, many other services. Just how does Crikey intend to fund these obligations. Bring back state income tax. Increase the GST substantially?

What does weaning off these three industries exactly mean? Stop mining. Stop gambling. Free land transfers for home buyers and developers. But of course not. Ken Henry  didn’t  want to do away with these taxes. He just wants them to be taxed differently.

All governments when dealing with any and all taxes need to deal with the pleadings of the poor taxpayer. Yes, in recent times there has been some shocking travesties brought upon NSW by the likes of Obeid and Tripodi. Jail them. Confiscate their ill-gotten gains. Have more transparency. Give ICAC more power. But let us not throw out the baby with the bath water.

Over the millennia, governments in one form or another have relied on property taxes to fund their obligations. It ain’t going to stop. It’s an easy (if economically inefficient) tax to collect if you need the title deeds to your property. I have sympathy for the proposal to ban gambling, but it isn’t going to happen. And if there were no mining and no mining taxes in their many and varied forms, Australia would be an economic basket case.

Finally, maybe the federal government can wean itself off income tax and GST.

Mission accomplished?

John Highfield writes: Re. “Front page of the day” (Thursday). Reckon the Telegraph ( which is not on my reading list) came  closest with Horatio Morrison. After all, the original was also one-eyed!

Terror threats

Brendan Abrams writes: Re. “Key issues around security laws likely to get lost in the terror noise” (Thursday). The current desperate attempt by Abbott and Co. to hype the threat to Australia from the bunch of mediaeval thugs on the other side of the world reminds me of being in Japan after 9/11 and for a few years after. I enjoyed travelling to the sticks and out of the way places, and was always amused to find on some remote island bus, or lonely mountain cablecar, a notice that “anti-terror measures are currently in place”, as if al-Qaeda had evil designs on the creaking infrastructure of dwindling communities of octogenarians in the Japanese backwaters.