April is “Taxpayer Appreciation Month”

7 Mar

 Sue had a brainstorm the other night – let’s raise awareness of the amount of tax money collected in this country, and show some appreciation for the taxpayers who foot America’s bills.

You know, I tried to find a figure on what Americans pay annually in taxes, and it was very confusing.

First of all, if you have a job or a business, and make any money whatsoever, you pay income tax.  If you work for somebody else, they have the happy job of vivisecting your wages into little piles and sending this here and that there – your “social insurance” and all that crap. If you are a self-employed small business owner, you can either do this yourself, or hire somebody like RUSH Personnel to do it for you. Take it from me – it’s a real pain in the ass.

If you own a house, screw you – you pay “ad valorem” or property taxes. Sheesh, what a scam there! A tax to own your own home, give me a Jesus H. Break. A tax based on roughly ten percent of what the county assessor determines to be the “value” of your house. Based on, well, mostly revenue needs! This tax gets split between the state thugs, the county thugs, and, if you are unlucky enough to be annexed, the city thugs. They say they use it to fix your roads and pay for your schools – what they mean is, pay salaries and benefits.

Listen you smartass renters – where do you think Landlord gets the money to pay his property taxes?!

Then there’s “excise” or sales tax – this is a phrase that will put sixty years on my 17-year-old, who feels this is one of the biggest hokums ever perpetrated on humankind – a tax on spending money you already paid taxes on.

I think “excise” covers “utility” tax, thankyouverymuch.

There’s so many ways they get to you. I know, we beat Measure J, but did you know, California has some of the highest cell phone taxes in the state?

Mooo-oooo!

I realize, taxes pay for stuff I want to have. I like paved roads, I’m glad to have public schools and other institutions. I’d like to be able to depend on cops and fire. I realize taxes are supposed to be the collective way to pay for stuff everybody wants and needs.

But we don’t get the service we pay for. The streets in some of our older neighborhoods are so badly maintained – I’ll never forget the pothole at the corner of Filbert and Downing that “voided” the warranty on my right front tire.   The park looks terrible, the trails are  not maintained, non-native overgrowth prevails and there’s garbage and dog poop laying on the ground. The other day on my way to a morning meeting, I found one of those dog poop bags – you know, the ones on which they spend some $60,000 a year – full and tied to the branch of a small tree alongside the trail. 

Last night on the news I heard them looking for park volunteers. Screw that! We have half dozen rangers who make over $80,000 a year, plus benefits. I see the park ranger truck parked here and there along the road, no ranger in sight. I sure as hell don’t see any ranger out there with a trash bag, picking up anything. I sure don’t see anybody over there at that freeway job writing tickets for fugitive dust or violation of the noise ordinance (regular crews are relegated to a 7am – dusk time limit) or the tree ordinance (9 inch diameter my ass!).  

I’d sure like to see some taxpayer appreciation out of these city workers, who get damned generous salaries, all of them, and don’t pay nearly enough of their own benefits packages.  I’d be happy if they’d do their jobs. 

We must demand of these people.  Next time you see a public worker, ask them, when’s the last time they thanked a taxpayer? Then give them the opportunity. 

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