Benjamin Franklin said there are two things certain in life: death and taxes. Unfortunately, Americans really don’t like paying taxes. We have managed to turn avoiding taxes into an Olympic level sport, to a point where the country’s very financial survival is in doubt.
Such problems are not limited to the national level, of course. Our very own Ypsilanti is facing a similar, smaller scale issue. An Annarbor.com article states, “Ypsilanti voters rejected two new tax proposals by a margin of nearly 2-to-1 on Tuesday. With all precincts tallied, 63.67 percent of voters opposed a Water Street debt retirement millage and 64.39 percent voted against a 1-percent citywide income tax, according to the Washtenaw County Clerk’s Office.”
The city needs the money, according to Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber, who is “disappointed” with the voting results, according to the article. To combat the lack of income, City Council is going to try and work out a new five-year budget plan. This will understandably be a difficult thing to do.
I’m not an economist, but I do understand that to pay for stuff requires money. To be able to continually afford stuff, one must make more than they spend, or at least make as much as they spend. If a person, a city or a nation is not doing that, they incur debt. A debt that must at some point be paid. Since I don’t see any mob boss’s children to babysit, the best way a modern nation or city has to pay off debt is taxes.
Well, maybe not the best way, but probably the simplest. In lieu of money to pay off said debt, one must alter their budget to meet the lack of income. Considering the current economic situation, I can see where people would be nervous about further budget cuts.
The fear that increased taxes might drive away potential businesses and families hoping to move in makes sense. On the other hand, cutting the city’s programs and services will deter potential movers as well. As with most things, a balance must be struck. Somewhere between “no new taxes” and “do we really need a fire department?” there must be an equilibrium.
Like I said, smaller scale of a national problem. Just like at the national level, reaching that balance is a real pain in the checkbook; it must be done though. The City Council is already getting fired up about differing budget ideas, so no matter what, there’s going to be a fight. That’s politics, unfortunately.
Still, the city government has to try. Whether a five-year plan or a five-month plan, the city needs revenue, and constantly avoiding the issue through budget cuts will only hurt the city more. The politicians can poke fingers at each other and bicker like schoolchildren, or they can work to try and solve this crisis, and a crisis this is.
No one likes paying taxes, but they’re a part of a life. A certainty of life, you could say. To deny that won’t fix anything. Neither will constant budget shuffling and reductions. Increased taxes, coupled with careful budget planning, can work together. That way, the tax increases aren’t too high, and the budget is better managed. With budget and taxes working together, the citizens win, the government wins and, most important, the city’s future wins.