Monday, 16 August 2010

Taxes are good!

“Freedom is not free” is a slogan which we Americans use, as we express our deep gratitude to the women and men of our Armed Forces. I say AMEN to that.  We owe a great debt to our soldiers, sailors, marines and aviators.

“Freedom is not free” might also be a slogan in favour of paying taxes.
I say this because despite the fulminations and obfuscations of the blatherskites on the right and the cowards on the left, taxes, in and of themselves, are not bad.  In fact they are very good, since they enable us all to share in the burden of providing public services.

I cheerfully pay my income tax since (for example):

(a) I am glad that we have a strong military; 

(b) I am relieved to know that we have national public agencies which support public health (through research); 

(c) I am in favour of the governmental agencies which review the safety of new drugs; 

(d) I know that we need those federal bodies which monitor the food supply to ensure its safety. 

None of these governmental services are free, so I am more than happy to pay my fair share in federal income tax for the common good.

At a more local level my taxes help to enable public safety (fire, jails and police); 

provide for decent public education;

support the libraries which enrich my life; 

see to it that my trash and recyclables are collected from the kerbside; 

fix, build and maintain roads. 

I am happy to contribute towards the costs of the above, but also for services which I will never usesuch as public schools – for I remember those good citizens who paid their taxes so that I could receive good education.

During the four years in which I have lived in Sarasota my property taxes have been reduced by more than 50%.  This is largely because the appraised value of my home has also been reduced (because of the slump in the housing market).  In fact the appraised value is about 33% of what I paid for my home; and is less than 50% of my mortgage! 

My 2010 property tax is $1030.  I have been advised by the Sarasota County Taxing Authorities that in 2011 it will be $541 or $572 (depending on which version of a budget is accepted).  It is not enough.  I should be asked to do better to enable greater funding for a multitude of county and city services. 

I will be in touch with the county and city commissioners to propose that they introduce a voluntary “additional tax”, (which those of us who desire high quality public services for all citizens), will gladly pay.

P.S. (Is there "waste" in the use of my federal and state taxes.  Of course there is.  I abhor this waste. 

But it is also true  that my local "free enterprise  supermarkets  waste a great deal of produce and meat which has has reached its "beyond sale" date - and throw it out. 

I am smart enough to understand that I am paying higher prices to cover this waste. 

In short, I am being "taxed" by private enterprises, so that they can dispose of the foodstuffs which they cannot sell.



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