Do you pay your taxes?
October 1, 2012
We’re in the middle of the presidential race in the United States, and the issue of taxes is on the front burner with the flame turned up all the way.
Do you pay your taxes?
I do. These are just some of them:
State property taxes based on the value of real property I own.
Personal property taxes based on the value of the personal property like computers, furniture, etc., at my office.
Attorney Occupation tax (Let’s stop at that one just a minute. I live in Texas, a state known for its conservative political climate, the home of Governor Rick Perry. But I pay an occupation tax every year for the privilege to practice law in this state. That tax is in addition to my state bar dues. I don’t hear the Tea Party folks raising an uproar about that tax. Go figure.)
And this is just a partial list.
I only compiled this list to prove one point: Everybody understands that some taxes are necessary. The real question is which ones.
This is where the political discussion should be. It’s not about whether to pay any taxes, it’s about what things tax money should support.
In the rural community where I live, we recently attempted to pass a school bond. For those who don’t know our system of providing money for public education in Texas, I would tell you that a school bond is the way schools pay for construction projects. A bond allows the school district to raise taxes by a certain amount in order to retire the indebtedness it incurs in connection with the building project.
The bond failed and we weren’t able to build a new school. That’s a shame. But it is really a shame if the reason for it is that people aren’t willing to approve any tax unless it is something that directly benefits them.
I’m afraid that is where we are in the country right now.
What things are worthy of taxpayer support?
Roads and bridges?
Healthcare for children, the disabled, the elderly?
Funding for research to find a cure for Alzheimer’s?
Auto company bailouts?
Bank failure bailouts?
Student loans? (By the way, I went to school on federally funded student loans, as did my wife. We spent ten years paying every dollar of those loans back.)
Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC)?
Food stamps for people who have lost their jobs in a failing economy?
Veterans’ benefits for the people who stood in harm’s way for us?
Law enforcement, fire fighters?
You catch my drift. It is easy to throw back your head and say, “No new taxes.” It is hard to decide which causes deserve taxpayer support.
Where should we spend our tax dollars?