Governmental Things One Should Be Able to Do Online
Over at the Freakonomics blog, they’re discussing a website focused on getting the U.S. Census to be made available online, thereby saving millions of dollars — maybe more. This post won’t devolve into a census discussion, but I will say that I absolutely hate those ads that constantly talk about filling out the form so that your community can get its fair share of funds for all the wonderful things government does. I reject that it is the role of government to do many of those things, and the constant talk of “fair share” makes me physically ill.
But let’s move on. We are talking a lot around here about ways to cut the state’s budget. Although this idea is more closely related to Missouri’s county governments, personal property tax declarations could very easily be done online. As far as I can tell, only Jackson County allows you to do the entire process online. That saves every taxpayer the postage cost of two letters, and it should be emulated by every other county. St. Louis County offers some helpful things online, but I think they should go the full mile here and try to phase out the requirement for physical mailings of property tax declarations for as many people as possible. Cutting costs here might also save the state at least a little money, given that the state reimburses counties for portions of their assessment expenses.
Please let me know if you are aware of other counties that have gone completely online with this process.