If local governments adopted a zero-cent tax rate, it is guaranteed their critics still would not be satisfied. The complaints would just turn to why potholes weren’t fixed, no one responded when their house burned to the ground and their toilets won’t flush.
People seem to forget every summer at budget time that the taxes they pay actually go toward services and amenities that make living in a particular town or school district and attractive option. They also ignore when pointing out how they can’t afford a higher tax bill because their household expenses have gone up that the same is true for governments.
It is a difficult juggling act for elected officials whose constituents will never believe their tax bill is low enough or that enough is being done to create and maintain a utopia in their town.
Danbury this week is having another workshop session on its budget to decide how to remove a roughly $40,000 deficit. The shortfall is caused in part by plans to create a website to keep residents better informed and the $15,000 estimated start-up cost for it.
Richwood is arguing over what its tax rate should be after its artificially Harvey-deflated property values rebounded. City leaders a year ago tightened their belts past comfortable levels to lessen the burden on property owners still trying to rebuild, and now they must pick up the cans they kicked down the road. Adopting the current tax rate could trigger a rollback election, and the effective rate will give a lot of cans another boot.
Freeport is maintaining its current tax rate, which will mean higher tax bills for a lot of property owners because of increased values. A lot of that money will go toward delivering infrastructure improvements residents long have demanded, but many residents are upset they will have to pay for the repairs through higher tax bills.
Those are just a few of the common situations elected officials must address in deciding how necessary residents’ “necessities” actually are.
It likely is too much to expect taxpayers to start applying fiscal common sense in an internet-fueled era where people think they shouldn’t have to pay for things. We encourage those who believe their local government is spending extravagantly, wasting taxpayers’ hard-earned money or living beyond its means to study up before opening their mouths.
Most taxing entities put their budgets online for review and include explanations about where major expenditures are going and why they are needed. No entity wants to tax constituents one penny more than is necessary to meet the demands from those same constituents.