Go Ahead, Raise My Taxes

It’s a good thing I’m already pretty comfortable with controversy.

Because this one is even unpopular with my own husband, who’s rather notorious for being SUPER easy to get along with (convenient, hunh?).

I am completely okay with paying more taxes.

I’ve actually told a financial advisor that I don’t appreciate his advice about how to shift investments to minimize our tax “burden”. I once delayed buying clothes for my daughter until after the sales tax holiday had ended. And I got into a long discussion with my oldest son in the Lego aisle of the toy store about why sales taxes are included in the total cost of the purchase, and why we have to account for that in deciding how big of a set we can get for his birthday.

This year, with all of the discussion in the Kansas Legislature about eliminating the income tax and “replacing” it with an increased sales tax, I’ve only increased my resolve about the inadequacy about my current tax rate. To me, paying taxes is an investment in the kind of society I couldn’t hope to buy for myself–safe roads, good schools, wonderful libraries, vibrant public parks–and also a reflection of the success my family didn’t necessarily earn but somehow still enjoys.

Because, in a truly progressive tax system, paying more taxes should be a mark of achievement.

How is that a burden?

And my final reason for being totally okay with my tax responsibilities? It’s a sort of extra license to complain, I guess. I certainly don’t agree that only those who are net taxpayers have a right to participate in collective governance–democracy shouldn’t be ‘pay-to-play’–but I do feel quite justified in articulating my opinions about how public funds are spent, because some of those public funds are mine. How would I have time to advocate effectively if I was busy trying to find ways to weasel out of my financial obligations to the commons? And, yes, it does feel like weaseling to me.

Of course I wish that I had more disposable income.

I just don’t wish that nearly strongly enough to walk away from my principled belief that there are many goods in our society that would not be nearly so “good” if not shared in common.

I’m proud to play a part, albeit smaller than I wish, in funding that commons.

So, not in my name, Kansas Legislature. Not in my name.

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