Letter: Time for a new dialogueMany of this year’s campaign messages I’m receiving talk about taxes and only taxes.
Many of this year’s campaign messages I’m receiving talk about taxes and only taxes. The assumptions I see in these messages include tax cuts are good, tax increases are bad and any candidate supporting any government role in our society or any kind of tax is out of touch with reality.
In our current economy, costs are rising and real incomes are unchanged or dropping. Voters are handling this reality by cutting spending — less dining out, less cell phone use, fewer movies, cutbacks of vacations, less expensive food. All levels of government now have to do the same.
No tax increases means costs will rise and income will be unchanged. Tax cuts will mean costs will rise and income will fall. Both situations require local, county, state and federal governments to cut services.
When “all taxes are bad” supporters identify services to cut, two answers usually appear: “Eliminate waste and inefficiency” and “Cut the services that I don’t use.” Services identified as “waste and inefficiency” often turn out to be “services that I don’t use.”
I would like to see the “all taxes are bad” advocates start identifying the services they receive that should be eliminated. If voters and candidates are serious about cutting revenue, and thus services, it’s time to be honest and specific about what current services they want eliminated.
Twenty-plus years of focus on waste and inefficiency, and countless elected officials and citizens working to cut spending have forced governments to offer mainly basic services or services required by state and federal law.
It’s time for a new dialogue — not about cutting taxes, not focused only on waste and inefficiency, not about taking services away from somebody else.
We need to dialogue and agree on what services we want our city, our county, our schools, our state and our country to provide — then decide how our community will pay for them.
Stuart D. Macdonald