Unfortunately our commissioners still haven’t figured out how to cut a budget.

A $50 wheel tax (which will be accompanied by a 33 cent property tax increase) passed on its first reading tonight. I am disgusted and ready to fight. Did anyone catch that poem that “Liberty Larry” read on Good Morning Tri-Cities last week? Oh, how true it is…

Don’t be fooled. This argument has been presented as “do you want a wheel tax OR an increased property tax?” What we are getting, folks, is a wheel tax AND an increased property tax. The introduction of a wheel tax does not mean that property taxes are not going up this year. The $50 wheel tax will only save us 12 cents on our property tax increase. And we’re stuck with a new tax.

Let’s explain why NEW taxes are bad. With only a property tax with which to increase funds for the county, the commissioners have limited resources and limited power. You can only raise property taxes so high before you have to start trimming the budget (like, oh, I don’t know…not offering 14% raises to the county mayor and court clerk. Just as an example). By introducing a new tax, the commission has a whole new “cookie jar” in which to stick their grubby little hands. Not only can they now raise your property taxes, they can raise that wheel tax, too. It is better to limit government in their forms of taxation, for it is in the muddiness of multiple taxes that we end up paying far more than we think we are.

Think about it…we pay (as an example, depending on your income bracket) 10 (or so) % of our income to the Federal Government, 7% to Social Security and Medicare, 10% on all our purchases (more on gas, cigarettes, and alcohol), property taxes, wheel taxes, death taxes, capital gains taxes, phone taxes…need I continue? It’s through the many layers of taxation that the government becomes more and more bloated and we’re blissfully ignorant of how much they are really taking right out of our pockets. THIS is why we need to suck it up (if the Commission isn’t going to cut the budget, which we all know that they’re not) and pay the higher property tax. The last thing we need is another layer of taxation.

James Reeves is circulating a petition against the wheel tax, and it is my understanding that with enough signatures we can force a referendum. Comment to this post or send me an email if you would like to know where you can go to lend your name to the fight.