(This ought to bake Jon Caldara’s noodle – promoted by Colorado Pols)
On tax day, most of us stop to ponder if our taxes are a good investment. Too often, we tend to focus on the bottom line-the one that reveals our payment. We tend to overlook why we pay taxes in America and what they buy. Taxes fund the services that benefit the greater good. Taxes are an investment in the communities that we all care about.
When asked about the services taxes buy, people almost always say the same things–they appreciate parks and recreation, their children’s schools, and the safety of their neighborhoods. They value libraries, community centers, health care and services for seniors. Our tax dollars pay for the things we care about in our communities and make our communities the places that we love to live.
The benefits we receive from taxes are so tightly woven into our regular activities that we fail to notice how they intersect with our daily lives. The weather report you got this morning was likely from the National Weather Service – an agency funded by your tax dollars. The water you used in your coffee was safe to drink because of environmental regulations that were developed using your tax dollars. The list goes on and on.
That road you drive to work on is paid for by your tax dollars. That same road is likely used by thousands of Coloradans each year. We are all in it together and no one in Colorado made it without the benefit of our public services–the same roads that gets you to work also transport cattle to market, products to manufacturers and tourists across the state each day. These are the collective investments that we should all be proud to make, I know I am.
Government detractors often claim that low income people don’t pay taxes. Not true. This convenient myth allows us to blame one another rather than recognizing the basic truths that we all get great benefit from our public investments and as a society we are all better off when we are all better off.
Is the distribution of taxes fair? That’s a tough question since fairness is in the eyes of the beholder. But we do know a few facts; we have lots of tax breaks that benefit small groups of people. And often the beneficiaries of that special treatment are the wealthiest among us.
We should remember, however, that targeted tax breaks are enacted by the representatives that we vote into office. If we are concerned about tax fairness we need to pay attention to the tax perspective of those we elect.
On Tax Day we have the unique opportunity to ponder the value of our collective effort and how we all benefit from working together. Please join us in acknowledging the value of our public investments through our #proudtopay Twitter campaign.