Liberal Answer To Everything: ‘Raise Taxes’ by Robert Socha
I hesitate to write this piece. After all, I am tackling a divisive issue that tends to pull at the heartstrings because my position can appear callous and insensitive. Nevertheless, while I understand a community’s needs, I cannot abide that the solution is the ballot box asking the voters to increase the tax burden, regardless of the amount.
On May 3, 2022, the county I have chosen to live in conducted a special election. Notably, there was only one item on the ballot in my city, a tax increase for the public schools for the next 20 years. The proposal states, “…taxes authorized herein, which funds will be disbursed to the following school districts to fund the education of students with a disability….” (And what happens in 2042?)
While I agree that it is a good idea to have programs for students with disabilities. I have many friends and people I admire who have children with special needs, so I am no stranger to the challenges raising those beautiful children brings. Therefore, I know that any assistance to those ends would be most welcome. I do not agree that increasing the tax burden for property owners across the board is the correct solution. Additionally, I’m not too fond of the vague language[i]of this particular proposal.
My general discontent and opposition to these types of measures are three-fold:
First, participation in spring-time elections is significantly less than in a general election, even more so in the mid-term cycle. For example, I endeavor to stay abreast of local issues and had overlooked this special election until a Facebook post reminded me over the weekend. I am grateful for the reminder and admit the information had been readily available. Still, my mind was thinking about the November elections and was ill-prepared to assess this issue. If there is a funding need of this nature, it is not something that magically appears overnight and requires immediate remediation. It has been known and could wait until November. I understand that would affect funding for the current school year, but better voter participation would definitely occur, eliminating any suggested impropriety.
Second, there are alternatives to raising the money through confiscatory practices. But, again, the difficulty here lies in austerity, something most communities are uncomfortable discussing, nonetheless implementing or philanthropic fundraising, which takes an inordinate amount of boots on the ground to galvanize support and raise funds. In this instance, though, I believe there is enough public support that the fundraising option could have been or could even still be a viable option. Again, I imagine that people who voted NO would likely contribute if asked, although I’ve been told long-term sustainability for such endeavors is nearly impossible to achieve. The objective here is to change the narrative and the general consensus that increased government funding is the answer to philanthropic efforts with long-term sustainability. As Alexander Hamilton argued in Federalist Papers No. 1[ii]: “This idea will add the inducements of philanthropy to those of patriotism, to heighten the solicitude which all considerate and good men must feel for the event.”
Liberal Third, and the gravest of the issues at hand, is the language used to defend a tax increase. In this particular instance, said language[iii]was mild in its presentation. Still, the natural effect is to clothe an issue in such a way as to make it appear righteous and necessary, and opposition as uncaring and loathsome. This manipulates the heartstrings into a yes vote and squashes legitimate debate. Additionally, there is a general misunderstanding of the ethics of such a vote. It is unethical to demand your neighbor fund things dear to your heart through taxation regardless of the need. There is always a need. Philanthropy toward the issue is a legitimate path toward funding, albeit very difficult to accomplish.
I pulled the election results (Page 9[iv]) and confirmed the county gave the Special Election for the increased millage a resounding NO. 1,590 in favor to 3,073 against. It is unequivocally evident the community would like to see alternatives to a general county-wide property tax increase. Hopefully, we can come together to find an amicable solution. It is what invested people do.
About the Author
Robert Socha, BIO Robert Socha (so-ha), was born in southern California. He served 5 years 3 months active duty in the United States Air Force; honorably. After his service he took an Associate’s Degree in Practical Theology, where, through his studies, developed a deep love of God and Country and sincere appreciation of the value of Liberty. Robert and his beloved wife of 21-plus years are raising 4 beautiful Texan children. They moved to Hillsdale, Michigan, in 2013, to put their children in Hillsdale Academy. Robert is a sales professional. He and his wife consider Michigan a hidden gem, and absolutely love this city and state (current political environment notwithstanding) they’ve adopted.