You get what you pay for

Published 9:00 am Friday, August 11, 2017

I recently received a letter from an organization I belong to, Citizens for the Commonwealth. Our governor plans to hold a legislative session to make changes to our tax system. He has floated the idea of increasing revenue by taxing grocers and prescription medications. Citizens for the Commonwealth strongly opposes such taxes because they disproportionately effect the poor. Instead, they propose closing many loopholes in our present tax code.

Unfortunately, the article didn’t identify which of the loopholes they want to close and they didn’t advocate any overall tax increase, soothing I think is badly needed. We all want to see the state meet its obligations to its retirees and we think we deserve better services. We just don’t want to pay for what is needed.

No loopholes are identified, but in total, they amount to about as much as the total taxes the state collects. Closing loopholes is difficult because each of us has a different set of sources of revenue such as credit for sales taxes, taxing pensions or corporate profits.

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Some favor horse farms, those who want to preserve buildings of farmland or even increase bike riding. The list of exceptions is almost endless, to say nothing having the state pay for special services to certain groups. As a cattle farmer, I appreciated the state paying to dispose of cattle that die on my farm.

To add to the problem, the federal government is considering giving Kentucky’s government a limited amount of money for it. We will start with less money that we are now getting, and as population increases and our citizens on average get older, there won’t be enough to cover everyone unless the state comes up with more money — increases taxes.

The legislature will have to decide what services to eliminate or reduce, what loopholes to close and what new sources of revenue, if any, to tap. In my opinion the place to look for new revenue is the fastest growing part of the economy: services such as lawn care, car and other repair, attorney fees, cosmetology, accounting, etc.

No one wants to pay taxes but quality governmental services cost money. We are all going to have to pay more if we want a good quality of lie and the poor should not be required to carry moe of the burden than they already do. Our tax system is already regressive.

Gordon Liddle