Tax­pay­ers walk­ing dol­lar signs

The Covington News - - Opinion - JOHN DOU­GLAS GUEST COLUM­NIST John Dou­glas is a for­mer state sen­a­tor who lives in New­ton County. Reach him at jf­dou­glas@aol.com.

In her July 22 col­umn, Bar­bara Mor­gan tells us that “bold, well spo­ken re­tiree” Bill Hoosen is up­set that the New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers did not re­cently raise prop­erty taxes. Ac­cord­ing to Mor­gan, Hoosen be­lieves the lack of a tax in­crease “will harm the county.”

Mor­gan takes the point of view that county gov­ern­ment should come first and the work­ing, tax pay­ing peo­ple of this county must fol­low that lead. The reader who did not know bet­ter would be­lieve that the peo­ple are here just to pro­vide money to the county for its op­er­a­tion. What­ever money may be left over be­longs to those who earned it, un­til the next bud­get is pre­pared.

Hoosen said, “...if the tax di­gest is shrink­ing, the mill­age rate should prob­a­bly be go­ing up.”

Let’s ex­am­ine that logic. If the tax di­gest is go­ing down, that means prop- erty is worth less; work­ing peo­ple who have poured their life sav­ings and la­bor into homes and prop­erty are see­ing them dwin­dle in value. What a great time to raise taxes, ac­cord­ing to this rea­son­ing. Peo­ple have less, so the county should take more. The op­er­a­tion of the county should take prece­dence over the well be­ing of the in­di­vid­u­als, right? Wrong.

There may be a sim­ple so­lu­tion to the fact that Hoosen and Mor­gan be­lieve taxes are now too low in New­ton County. I would call on the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers to set up a two-tiered sys­tem of taxes in this county.

Tax Sys­tem A could be for those who are strug­gling to make a liv­ing, who live from pay­check to pay­check and who need their money for gro­ceries more than the county needs it for any­thing else.

Tax Sys­tem B could be for those wor­ried that they are not pay­ing enough taxes. They could, as Hoosen al­legedly said, per­form “their patriotic duty” and vol­un­teer to pay higher taxes.

Those patriotic souls could meet with county of­fi­cials and vol­un­teer what­ever amount they could agree on above the cur­rent tax rate. Those wor­ried about their jobs and money could be left alone to pay the lower rate al­ready im­posed on them.

I would ask this of the “more tax” crowd: How much is enough?

How much money do you need to make this the best place in Amer­ica to live?

Give me a ball­park es­ti­mate so we can see what that sta­tus would cost us.

Of course there is no an­swer: Gov­ern­ment can never get enough money. It could tax us all 100 per­cent of our in­come and still look for ways to find more.

Just ask the New­ton County Board of Ed­u­ca­tion, which slipped in a tax in­crease while we were all watch­ing the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

I salute the ma­jor­ity of the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers for tak­ing a stand for the work­ing peo­ple of this county. It’s about time we had gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who are true to their words.

If that makes them am­bi­tious, so be it. Keep up the good work.

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