LUNEBURG, GERMANY - JULY 27: A female cashier weighs apples in a Supermarket on July 27, 2005 in Luneburg, Germany. Sparked by the election manifesto of the opposition party CDU, Germany currently debates wether raising the Mehrwertsteuer (VAT) would in fact promote economic growth or if it would have the opposite effect by hurting families and low-income households. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

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Taxes, taxes and more taxes. I’m not entirely sure that the Founding Fathers had this many taxes in mind.

The Bozeman City Commission is considering a local option sales tax. Similar to the “resort tax” imposed in cities like West Yellowstone. If you rent a hotel room you pay a little extra, if you rent a car you pay a little extra. But are increasing taxes or imposing new taxes the answer?

What Do We Get For Our Money?

When it comes to taxes the playing field is hardly level. Taxes, for the most part, are just a redistribution of wealth from one class of people to another.

According to the Tax Foundation, American’s lowest-income families receive $5.28 worth of government spending (federal, state, and local) for every $1 they pay in total taxes.

Middle-income families receive $1.48 in total spending per tax dollar, while America’s highest-income families receive $0.25 cents in spending for every dollar of taxes paid.”

“Government tax and spending policies combine to redistribute more than $2 trillion from the top 40 percent of families to the bottom 60 percent.”

What Makes Local Option Different?

The only real difference is that we all benefit equally — sort of. We drive on city streets, we check books out of the library, but I live in the county so I don’t get the benefit of every available service.

But, people from other states do the same thing but pay nothing for it. So on one hand it would be nice if they had some skin in the game. But that also turns local merchants into tax collectors.

Is Raising Taxes The Only Option?

That’s a question most citizens ask. If my paycheck fails to cover my expenses there is no one I can go to and ask for more income. So my alternative is to make some cuts to my current lifestyle.

Sometimes those cuts are painful but necessary until I can get things back under control. The other thing I look at, that the city should consider, is the reduction of any short-term debts.

Paying those sooner than later might be a wise course of action.

Some Final Thoughts

The problems most of us have with taxes is that once the camel’s nose is in the tent it’s pretty hard not to let the rest in. Once a tax is in place it rarely stays at it’s starting point.

I would not be so opposed to some of the taxes we pay if they had a time limit and had to be renewed by voters from time to time.

I realize that makes planning difficult and all I can stay to that is, “Stuff Happens.” My best made plans often have to be adjusted when I can least afford it.

Can we cut or at least reduce some city expenses to at least demonstrate a judicious use of our hard earned tax dollars?

If this passes be prepared to have a pocket full of pennies at the end of your day.

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