01/15/08 — It’s the waste ... The real problem with tax hikes is way money is used

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It’s the waste ... The real problem with tax hikes is way money is used

No one likes hearing that he or she is going to get a higher tax bill. There are plenty of other places that most of us could be putting an extra $200 or $500 a year.

But the root of the distrust that comes along with yet another group of politicians coming up with yet another way to get a hold of more tax money is that taxpayers have learned that when you open your checkbook, those who are getting the money don’t always watch their pennies.

So, if the community rallied around every call for more funding, soon there would be nothing leftover to address problems that the community considers top priority. And don’t think that means government officials would stop asking for more money, either.

It is kind of like giving your child an unlimited allowance and never putting any limits on how that youngster uses the money. If they think there is an unlimited supply, they will be a lot less likely to worry about spending wisely — or saving for a rainy day.

Over the next few months and weeks, Wayne County residents are going to be hearing a whole lot of talk about sales tax, community projects and the future of the county. They might even hear a few promises about how funds will be used and managed.

Nationally, they will hear all sorts of theories about which tax plan will best serve the needs of the country as a whole and which party is best able to bring that economic surge.

And, just this week, someone is already talking about increasing what consumers pay for gas — to provide more money for an aging highway infrastructure.

See? Doesn’t that make you wonder what happened to the money we have been paying for years to keep our roadways in shape?

The key to any future talk of increased taxes — as well as any other budget adjustments — is to make sure that those funds are going to be used to fix the concerns this community sees as a priority.

The same is true when choosing a president. Will the tax plan he or she presents get the job done with an emphasis on what this nation’s real needs are?

To get that information, we are going to need more real answers and fewer pretty speeches. Brass tacks is the name of this game.

We should not OK any tax hike that doesn’t include details or anoint any new leader who doesn’t make “straight answers” a campaign pledge.

It’s the best way to protect our wallets.

Published in Editorials on January 15, 2008 2:17 PM