July 1st marks the day when Americans have finally paid off all the costs of government – in taxation and regulation – and can begin to work for themselves.

WASHINGTON ¾ This July 4th marks the 226th anniversary of America\’s freedom from British governance and taxation. But a mere three days earlier, Americans can declare independence from their own governments\’ tax and regulatory policies. Cost of Government Day (COGD) is the date in the calendar year when the average American worker has earned enough to pay off his or her share of the burdens of government at the local, state, and federal levels. And this year it falls on July 1st.

Today, Americans work 181 days to pay taxes and comply with the regulatory costs of government at the federal, state and local levels. Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) prepares a report on COGD each year. This year, the report showed that Americans will work:

  • 79 days to pay for all federal spending
  • 41 days to pay all state and local spending
  • 38 days to pay the costs of federal regulations
  • 23 days to pay the costs of state regulations

Taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads ATR in Washington, said "Americans will have worked half of their year to fund the activities of the government. This is a sad commentary some 226 years after so many men died to free Americans from the clutches of another government."

ATR has calculated Cost of Government Day for each of the past seven years, and published with it a report detailing those costs. This year\’s report and the executive summary can be found on ATR\’s website at www.atr.org/cogd2002.

"The Founders\’ vision of limited government cannot die in the face of modern statism," continued Norquist. "And president Bush\’s tax relief last year plan was a step in the right direction. But that relief must be made permanent immediately, despite the recalcitrant leaders in the U.S. Senate. Most importantly, American taxpayers need always be well aware of the costs of their government," he concluded.