Monday, December 14, 2009

Taxed to Death

Taxes continue to go up in states, counties, and municipalities. I just read that the Dutchess County tax is going up by more than 10%, well above the average increase of county taxes in New York State. What’s wrong with our elected officials?

People are out of work, people are underemployed (hours cut back or forced to take a lower paying job), people are facing higher costs, and what do our leaders do? Increase taxes. This is happening in a state that already has some of the highest taxes in the nation. No wonder people are leaving the state! You can be sure I won’t retire anywhere in New York state.

This sad state of affairs reflects poorly on our politicians, who were elected by us and are supposed to represent our best interests. Are higher taxes in our best interests? I don’t think so. We already know Albany is dysfunctional, but right here in Dutchess County? You would think they would know better.

The problem is, I believe, that government entities don’t know how to cut costs. Of course they claim they are making the tough decisions and some costs are being cut, but they don’t go far enough. Programs take on a life of their own and it’s almost impossible to cut them or eliminate them. Special interests have tremendous influence (unlike the voter, it seems), and so they are well taken care of.

Government has tried to be all things to all people, but at a cost. Now much of this should be dismantled, and the taxpayer, the very foundation of society, should be given a break. But no, the taxpayer keeps getting taxed to death. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Government should stick to what government does best: maintain the roads, fire and police, things like that. Forget the nonessentials. Same with schools: give a good basic education, make most sports fee-based, and forget the frills. Our kids have been dumbed down by a failing educational system – let’s give them the kind of education that will make this country competitive once again, and at a reasonable cost.

It is downright immoral, irresponsible, and harmful to keep increasing taxes in such an economy. It may even created a “double dip” in the economy, meaning the economy will take another turn for the worse. Consumers have less money to spend, so they buy less, and the economy declines. Pray for our leaders to have the wisdom and the guts to truly make the right decisions regarding cutting costs.

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