Taxation with irresponsible representationWritten by Joseph Pellman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Taxation does not only affect homeowners and the rich of the American population. College students and recent graduates are also greatly impacted by severe and often unnecessary taxation by our government. This is why I chose to attend the Toledo Tax Day Tea Party, coordinated by Tricia Lyons and Steve Neiling. Increased government spending has in recent months become a common phrase in our nation’s media. President Obama has the economic stimulus package, the last half of the TARP legislation, and the omnibus spending bill at his disposal in his first three months on the job. Add to this his proposed new federal budget, and we are looking at the largest amount of spending that America has ever seen. This situation reminds me of a child who vies for his rich father’s love and respect. You can throw all the money you want at the problem, but in doing so you miss the root of the dilemma.
College students and recent graduates are faced with a unique situation in reference to taxation. Raising taxes on business results in decreased job opportunities and potential layoffs. Companies offset higher taxes by increasing the cost of goods and services rendered, which hits students right where it hurts. When a graduate finally lands a job, politicians like Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner propose legislation to increase taxes on that person if he or she works outside the city but lives in its limits. Do you see a pattern? Nothing good comes from unnecessary taxation because it punishes those who work hard and spend wisely. It discourages businesses from investing in our region, and keeps the unemployment rate at its record high.
Headlines concerning the Tax Day Tea Parties are laden with phrases such as “right-wing extremism,” which, in my opinion, is quite the double standard. Protests in favor of things such as gay marriage and women’s choice are not affixed with the title of “left-wing extremism,” and are often displayed in the media as “understanding both sides of the issue.” I listened to an anchor on MSNBC recently take a ten minute block on his broadcast to ream the participants in the tea parties, using the argument that while no one likes to pay taxes, it is the “American” thing to do. This sounds vaguely reminiscent of a Joe Biden campaign quote.
Let me be clear: this is not a Republican or Democratic issue. We must form a unified front to combat the excess spending and taxation for the sake of future generations of Toledoans. Toledo is a great city, and to restore the faith of its citizens, our government must recognize the severity of its fiscal actions. The current budget problems that our mayor and city council are facing reflect poor financial decisions in previous years and an expanded city government, too big to provide the money essential to keep it afloat.
In a public administration class I attended as a UT undergrad, we researched and learned the different forms of municipal budgets and the pros and cons of each system. Toledo uses a version of the line-item system, comprised of lengthy deliberation over each aspect of the budget in order to cut or add funding where needed. Perhaps after this year’s apparent misjudgment of the funding needed to run our city, our government might try the performance-based approach to budgeting. This would review the effectiveness and efficiency of all government entities and make cuts where needed. It encourages competition in bids for goods and services purchased by the city, and shows our citizens that the government is using our tax money wisely. Most importantly, our elected officials must become familiar with the word “no.” We cannot continue to allow new programs to be created and publicly funded if no money exists to do so.
Toledoans are smart people. They do their job, often without complaint, and fork over their hard-earned money for politicians to use for city operation and maintenance. They, however, are not willing to keep politicians around who habitually waste their tax dollars. Perhaps the politicians of Toledo should take note.