In Feb. 19 IssueBy Wade Daffron, Columnist
I've traveled across the state extensively this week-and I've enjoyed it because it gives me the opportunity to meet people.
One thing I have noticed is that people are talking...a lot.
People are talking because they are concerned, worried, and dare I say, "scared."
There is fear for the future because no one knows what it holds.
You remember the old saying, "What do you want first, the good news, or the bad news?"
Well, it all seems like "bad news" anymore.
I've heard people discussing topics ranging from gas prices to taxes.
In Western Kentucky, someone who claims to "study the market" said to notice the gas prices at the beginning of the week ($3.09 a gallon), and I was assured the price would jump at least ten cents by week's end.
The very next day, gas was $3.19 a gallon.
I awoke Wednesday morning to the news of our local, county government facing a nearly $200,000 deficit.
In all fairness, it's not unusual (and quite likely) for new leadership to "inherit" debt, problems, hot-button issues, etc.
What disturbs me about this situation is one of the first things mentioned (and let's face it, it will probably end up being the "solution") was to raise taxes.
There has been discussion of possibly raising either the payroll tax, or property tax-under the very non-convincing argument that neither tax has been raised in several years.
There's not been a public lynching in Russell County for several years, so should we start that up again?
First of all, with present, high unemployment rates, it is ridiculous and unfair to basically "punish" the people who are fortunate enough to have jobs.
Second, it's no secret to anyone that property values have plummeted in many areas, so how in the world could someone even make a "bad" argument for raising property taxes?
If anything, property taxes should DECREASE to reflect the current market.
Try going to a bank and saying, "Well, my tax bill says my property is worth "x", so I'd like a loan for that amount."
My property tax bill amounts to roughly TEN PERCENT of my annual income. And the majority of my bill is the "school tax."
There's so bigger fan of education than me, but I don't like paying thousands in school tax, then having to pay student fees, and more "out of pocket" funds for supplies.
Someone was talking about property taxes recently, and posed the question of why we have to pay them in the first place.
OK, I know it supposedly helps pay for "services" provided, but isn't it OUR property we are being taxed for the privilege of having. (I didn't explain well, but think about it...)
Oh, OH! And how fair is it to live in the city and pay BOTH county and city taxes?
Am I on a roll?
(A dinner roll, probably...)
So, what's the "breaking point"?
When do we have our "Network moment" when we scream, "I'm mad as h*ll, and I'm not gonna take it anymore!"
Have you noticed how the government is slowly but surely choking the life out us?
I used to laugh at "conspiracy theories," internet postings, and radio talk shows which were always "warning" us of the very things that are happening now.
Did you ever think we'd be told what kind of light bulbs to use?
Did you ever think we may not be able to watch "Sesame Street," or listen to "Prairie Home Companion" anymore?
Did you enjoy getting your rapid tax refund? Wait...it was probably delayed due to the government and their inability to make a decision over the tax code.
(Would YOU be allowed to put the government off if you owed them?)
And where is the "free" in "freedom."
Have you tried to enter a public court house lately?
I understand and appreciate the need for security.
But the other day, I was in LINE for nearly 15 minutes to simply enter the lobby of a courthouse.
People not only had to pass through a metal detector, but had to remove all coats, hats, empty their pockets, raise up pants legs, and some even had to remove their shoes.
Packs of cigarettes were opened and inspected, wallets and purses were searched, and I even saw a baby removed from a stroller, and the stroller turned upside-down for examination.
One man in line audibly said, "I'm just trying to get over there (he pointed to a clerk's office about 20 feet away) and renew my driver's license, This is a bunch of crap!"
A security officer approached the man and said, "You need to keep your mouth shut if you don't want to go to jail, sir."
We can be jailed for merely expressing an OPINION?
What has happened to my, yours, our America?