A tax revolution is long overdue

Published 9:08 am Saturday, December 10, 2005

By Staff
I have a theory about why voters increasingly turn down tax millage requests from local entities in their communities.
It's an issue of control. We turn them down because we feel an overwhelming need to make the statement that enough is enough.
We have what seems to be absolutely no control over any form of state or federal tax imposed on us, so we turn down those that we do have a say over.
We turn them down because our backs are breaking with taxes and it's got to stop somewhere.
We turn them down, too, because we believe a majority of tax dollars that we are forced to pay are wasted or go to line someone's pocket.
The problem is, those local millage requests, like those that would better education or support improved fire or police protection, are the ones that benefit us the most.
Many of our employees receive annual bonuses, which are paid to them at this time of year. In looking over those checks our employees will receive this year, the amount of federal and state taxes that are withheld from them - money our employees have earned - is really just sickening.
Add to that the other taxes that are forced upon us, like gas and sales taxes, and it's simply infuriating.
We need to have the same kind of say - with our personal vote -over federal and state taxes, too.
Theoretically, we do have that say through our elected legislative representatives. But, come on now. We know we really don't. Our legislator - state and federal - accomplish very, very little that actually benefit us.
Congress has become so complex. The influence of lobbying groups is out of control. Legislators work to keep their job or advance to the next level or work to set themselves up financially when they no longer hold elective office.
Waste and corruption are rampant, we all know that. Congress can't pass any spending bill without having tons of special-interest pork attached to it.
Just think about the absolute disaster of a response from our federal government to Katrina.
Term limits won't fix things because we'll never pass them on the federal level. Our elected representatives will see to that. They don't want term limits. And unless they are across the board on a federal level, they don't work because anything less just penalizes those states who have chosen them.
In my opinion, our form of government is really broken beyond repair. Yes, I know I'm casting a very broad net and that my opinion is very pessimistic, but I believe it's one that's shared by many, many hard-working Americans.
Maybe it's time for some kind of real tax revolution. Maybe we should do something like stop collecting federal and state taxes altogether and then just sit back and see what happens.
I think we'd find out quickly what services provided by our tax dollars are those we really need and which ones we wouldn't miss at all.
The money we didn't send in as taxes could go into a locally-managed fund, spent only to support local education, police and fire services and to make certain the neediest among us are provided with food, clothing, health care and shelter.
Don't tell me I sound like a Republican, because I'm not. The Republican party has been in control of basically everything on the federal level for the last six years and, what have they done? They've gotten us into record debt and reduced the tax burden on only the wealthiest of Americans, which they told us would stimulate our economy. It hasn't done that.
Democrats, under our present system, wouldn't have done any better.
Congress better get the message quickly that we've had it. They need to do the right thing. When we go to the polls from now on, it needs to be to elect people with an overhaul agenda.
If our elected leaders don't get the message quickly, I'm afraid the tax revolution that's headed our way won't be as organized and peaceful as the one I describe above.