A-List Blog: Mean n’ stingy anti-tax nuts | VailDaily.com

A-List Blog: Mean n’ stingy anti-tax nuts

Alex Miller

Talk about missing the point: Comments regarding the proposed childcare property tax in Eagle County have been almost entirely negative, with the gist of them suggesting that what this is all about is dipping into people’s pockets to pay for all the wanton fornicators who had kids they can’t afford to pay for.

Some of my favorite have been sarcastic cracks along the lines of “I’d like to raise pet ferrets and think the taxpayers should pay for it.” I can only hope these people are kidding, or have they seriously forgotten that members of the human race in a civilized and advanced society create programs for the common good? That ranges from the taxes we pay for our defense (to the tune of about a half-trillion dollars per year) to the money we contribute to repair our roads, teach our children, fight fires, and on down the line.

Another good one came from someone who thought it would be a swell idea to do away with public education altogether and let people pay for their own children’s education with “all the money they’d save in taxes.” Never mind that Colorado has one of the lowest property tax rates in the country (37th) or that landlords would almost certainly not pass such savings onto renters. It seems the deluded anti-tax crowd would have us taking W’s “ownership society” all the way to zero taxes. That way, we can all buy squirrel guns to defend ourselves against whomever, pitch in to pave our own roads (good luck) and teach our own kids as best we can as we work two jobs and spend all our spare time doing things tax-funded government used to take care of.

All this is not to say that government isn’t perfectly adept at wasting our taxpayer dollars, and that new taxes shouldn’t be heavily scrutinized. But for some reason, all these red-meat, tax-slashing conservatives don’t seem to mind that half-trillion-dollar figure cited above. Does anyone doubt we could have a perfectly good military able to defend our country for half that amount or less? And how about all the corporate welfare and farm subsidies we shell out while our schools and roads crumble? Or the crazed notion of cutting the estate tax while our national debt creeps north of $8 trillion?

Anyway, the thing we have to look at when considering new local taxes is what the benefit is to our community vs. the dent it’ll make in our budget. What we’re talking about with the childcare tax probably wouldn’t be more than $50 a year for someone with an average home, and likely far less. In Summit County, which passed a similar measure last year, I believe the “hit” on the owner of a $400,000 home was estimated to be about $16, and that small contribution helped create a pot of $600,000 for the county’s youngest members.

So if we assume that the average property owner in Eagle County would hardly even notice such a spike in their tax bill, what, then, is the benefit? Again, the conservatives would have us believe the “free market” should take care of all things, but they ignore the reality on the ground in their stinginess. Second-home owners have artificially inflated the price of real estate in Eagle County to the point where most working-class people cannot afford to buy a home here. They have also elevated the cost of living to where these same folks can barely eke out a living even if they bring in a family income of $75,000 per year or more.

Sometimes, it’s government’s job to put forth an idea – to be voted on by the people – to level the playing field a bit. That’s true in affordable housing initiatives and other programs that recognize the need to keep the community vital by retaining a middle class. In this case, parents who pay upwards of $750/month for childcare would get a hand, while the caregivers who look after their children would get a bump in pay and training opportunities.

Are all you people writing these nasty comments really that blind and stingy that you don’t see the value of this? Do you despise children and families and caregivers that much that you’d deny a small hand up to help them? Are you not aware of the value of early childhood education and the boost it gives kids early in life? Don’t you know that the better taken care of children are in the early years, the less likely they are to become a much bigger drain on society and the taxpayer when they grow up and end up in jail, on welfare or the like? Where does all this mean-spirited, anti-American isolationist hogwash come from?

I don’t get it. All these people don’t say a word when we continue to pay through the nose to put dope smokers in prison or use taxpayer money to buy weapons that kill civilians around the world, yet they’d withhold a couple of bucks to help our local families. For shame. And don’t let’s hear anymore about how this is some kind of giveaway to the illegal immigrants; that’s another issue entirely.

Vail, Colorado

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