Sunday, April 12, 2009

Paying Taxes

My first political thought had to do with taxes. I remember suddenly realizing that if people wanted something in their town, they would pay for it with "taxes." The image in my head was of a village that wanted a statue over a fountain, and the people would each have to pay some amount to pay for the statue. Much later I realized that fire departments, roads, and schools were paid for by taxes, and that no one wanted to pay into the kitty and wanted to keep their money themselves.

I did my taxes by hand on binder paper with a pencil until 2002, even though for years I always had at least two if not three or four W2s. It was simple math in those days, with the standard deductions, and I found it kind of fun to do. Later in my financial aid life I learned how to read tax returns doing income verifications, and until I had to figure the value of a business that was kind of fun too. I even trained other people on it!

When I've had to write a check to the IRS, I've often been tempted to write in the memo line what I want my money to pay for. "Head Start," I've imagined writing several years in a row, or five years ago, "Armor for soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan." I've imagined drawing a circle/slash through "ADM." The check to the State Franchise Board would say "Education" and "Libraries."

I wonder what wouldn't get funded if people could say where they wanted their taxes to go. My first guess is legislators' salaries. What would you pay for?

1 comment:

crayonbeam said...

I want to pay less for prisons.