Libertarian Oddity of the Day

I found this a bit odd.  In Arizona, you can actually make a voluntary contribution to certain causes or political parties via your tax return.  This is not a checkoff, but an amount that is added to the amount you owe in taxes and then passed on by the state to a short list of approved organizations.  As a libertarian, I find it unsettling that the state acts as a collection or sales agent for certain political causes.  In particular, how can the state make fair and reasonable choices as to who is on and not on the list of eligible recipients?

I found this data for 2009 FY giving:


What was odd for me is that of all the political giving, libertarians had the highest average donation.  I find it weird that libertarians would want to financially support the libertarian cause but they want to do it via the mechanism of the state income tax return.

The good news here is that the combined $28 thousand or so in political donations was dwarfed by every other cause.


  1. collapsinghrung:

    California does this too

  2. MGW:

    Maryland does this too (they only let you donate money to election funding, but it's an add on, unlike on the federal return). I'm sure that this started by the political parties wanting to be able to collect donations, but to cover it up, they added the charities. I'm sure that this leads to some confusion since the federal tax return check-off comes out of your taxes.

  3. LoneSnark:

    Libertarians almost never hear from their political machinery. As such, unlike the other two whose machine keeps calling, Libertarians that would like to donate to their cause are unlikely to have had an opportunity to do so prior to filing their tax return, and will therefore be more likely to do so then.

  4. Micah Odor:

    Libertarians had the highest average donation? How do you figure? Their average was $39, which is third.

  5. TDK:

    Libertarians had the highest average donation? How do you figure? Their average was $39, which is third.

    I think he meant donations to the 4 recognised political parties

  6. T:

    I am happy to see Veterans come in as the #1 cause - talk about spending (albeit little) money on some folks who thoroughly deserve it. It's not a surprise but it is dishartening to see child abuse clock in at #2 - typical signal for unthinking emotional gut reactions. I wish people took a moment to think about which course of action would improve the life of more children - spending an equal amount of money on preventing Child Abuse or improving traffic safety.

  7. Mesa Econoguy:

    This has always offended me, along with the “Do you wish to contribute $1.00 to the AZ Clean Elections Fund” bullshit question. That’s about to get struck down btw, more later.

    These are the same people who have zero economic clue about anything asking this question. Hilariously offensive.