Taxes, Taxes, Taxes
To freak out a fiscally conservative friend of ours, my husband once said, “I never met a tax I didn’t like” and watched as the man visibly recoiled in horror. The guy never forgot it and brings it up whenever we see him. My husband’s statement was an exaggeration, but he comes from a long line of Scandinavians who live in countries with more socially communal leanings than ours. His Swedish cousins don’t fear the cost of illness, old age, or having a child who may need extensive care due to severe disability. They know their higher taxes cover all that. That same man refused to vote in favor of library funding. “I never use the library,” he said. “When I want a book, I go to the bookstore and buy it,” Taxes do a lot for libraries, as well as schools and other things we take for granted. I’m a believer in public education. I remember when we lived in Texas and our town redistricted the school zones. Our three boys, who had been in a fairly new school with many amenities and small class sizes, were suddenly required to move to a physically much lesser facility in an economically challenged area, literally located “on the other side of the tracks”. Admittedly, I was scared. We very briefly considered a private school before deciding to give the newly assigned place a chance. It turned out to be a great decision. The teachers were incredibly attentive to individual needs and the parents, the majority of whom were Latino, were super involved in the school. They took seriously, everything associated with the place. To watch a bunch of kids on rickety wooden risers singing slightly off-key holiday carols, the dads showed up in suits and ties, the moms in Sunday best dresses. It was also at that school where our boys learned what I consider to have been an invaluable lesson: what it’s like to be a minority. Tax money goes for all sorts of good things. One man in the neighborhood where we used to live was adamant about never voting in favor of school referendums. “I don’t got kids in school no more,” was his response when I asked why. Another perfect example of why money on education is money well spent.
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