Saturday, May 24, 2008

Not a year for increased state and local tax?

Some people say that, with the current economic problems, this year is not one to raise taxes.

Yes, many people’s finances are tight at this time. Families are having to tighten their belts and do without many things they would like to have. Vacation travel, meals in restaurants, and many other things are being cut back. Many families will have to make the decision every time they spend money: must we have this expense?

However, the needs of municipalities, counties, and states continue. School districts have to buy more land and build more schools to handle the increased school population. The construction and land acquisition costs are far higher than they were for existing schools. Streets have to be improved to handle the increased traffic. A larger population will require more services.

A family may be able to do without many things, but we cannot ask them to do without classrooms for their children or roads to drive on. These things must be paid for, and they are paid for with our tax money.

I realize that times are tough for many people. Many people cannot pay higher property tax or higher sales tax on their necessities. However, beer and cigarettes are not necessities. Those who cannot afford or do not want to pay a higher tax can do without them. The legislature should consider these tax increases before they cut needed services.

Transfer taxes affect only those people who have just sold a home or other property, and at the time that they are receiving income from the sale of property. They have been rejected by voters who were led to believe that enactment of the transfer tax would result in a tax increase for everyone. Perhaps they will reconsider when they find out that defeat of a transfer tax will only mean a higher property tax – the real home tax – for everyone.

There are many who, in spite of the current economy, can pay more to provide the schools and services that we need. Shouldn’t we consider an increase of tax for the highest earning taxpayers? Perhaps an additional tax on luxury cars or on heavy gas guzzling cars could be used.

No one wants to pay higher taxes. But the schools, roads, and other services that we depend on must be paid for.