(BRANDON HANSEN/Managing Editor of the Chewelah Independent)
I’m curious as to what the Stevens County Tea Party would look like if anybody around here decided to re-enact something from our forefathers and protest some taxation.
Perhaps we could dump a bunch of Keystone Light into the Columbia River? It certainly would be better than whatever Canada is putting in the river. Maybe make it Busch Light; that stuff is more pure than spring water. Tastes like it, too.
The feeling is the same. Too many taxes, too much waste and seemingly no results to see. Where was that marijuana money supposed to go? Where is the Lotto money going?
It becomes increasingly clear that government on all levels doesn’t explain well enough what it’s spending its money on, and how that affects you, the constituent. Maybe that’s why instead of discussing policy and counting beans, we’re calling each other Nazis and Communists behind our keyboards, because we can’t even begin to grasp how our government is operating.
My take on this would be very simple: You have to show your work. We make kids show their work when it comes to math programs (well I hope we still make kids do this, I’m not sure about Common Core), why don’t we extend the same requirement we put on eight-year-olds to our government organizations and leaders?
I do appreciate the signs they put on the side of the highways sometimes explaining that this X-million dollar budget is going to this specific project. It shows people their tax dollars at work.
I think anytime a tax is applied, it needs to be accurately conveyed to the person who just got taxed. On our utility bills, those extra taxes tacked on should have a breakdown of where the money goes. When we get our property tax bill, we should get a similar, easy-to-read document.
Instead of “we’re going to employ this tax to help the homeless,” every leader and bill should be required to have an explanation of just where that tax money goes instead of just blanket statements. You can’t rely on the normal person to track down the Washington State budget and swim through that sort of accounting sludge.
Your paycheck should have a breakdown of what got taken out. While there are little earmarks like Medicare and unemployment, how does this all break down? It would prevent the silly argument I once had explaining to someone locally that the taxes on their paycheck do not go to municipal expenses for Seattle, as that city has its own budget raised from property taxes and such.
When we get taxed at the pump, why isn’t there a readout there saying what those dollars are going to?
If you think that the idea of breaking down where the tax money is going is simply too complicated and too time consuming, I would ask you, isn’t it worth the accountability? If government is just expecting it to be too complicated for everyone to understand, then there is very little stopping all that money from being shifted around. Would it make us scrutinize every expense more? You betcha.
Would it cause government organizations to be leery to have their financials splayed out to everyone? Great.
When it comes to tax time, I feel like if we’re going to get taxed, we should also get a readout of just where our money went to. I want to know if I sent 40 dollars to the Keller Ferry, or ten dollars to fix Chewelah potholes. That would be a point of pride. Maybe the city could also start selling sponsorships of filled pot holes in town.
I feel like people are generally educated very little on what budgets go to what and where the money is going. Property taxes go to a different place than your payroll taxes and so on. Government accountability should start with them having to explain where the public dollars go and how each item gets broken down. I wouldn’t complain about certain taxes if I knew they kept certain things running smoothly. I also might be more adverse to a tax if I knew it was paying for someone’s security detail to run for president.
Let’s put a paper trail on everything. It might boost the timber industry for the paper printed, and make us understand government just a little bit more.