A journalist observes life in the far north.
I’ve gotten cranky about taxes. I used to not be this way.
The crankiness started after the municipality where I live approved a lucrative tax break for the powerful tourism industry. A fine new visitors center won’t have to pay most of its property taxes, forever I guess. It’s a not-for-profit operation but it supports a profitable industry.
The industry cried poor. And to be fair, the number of visitors this year dropped dramatically. Still, one or two large hotels get built here every year, leading me to wonder whether the long-term outlook is pretty good.
My crankiness erupted again after the municipality approved a 5-cent tax on plastic bags as a part of an effort to encourage the community to go green. I can avoid the tax by using fabric bags at the grocery store, but five fabric bags sat in the back of my car for a year and I never remembered to use them.
More recently, there’s a ballot measure to establish a sales tax. The tax would offset a property tax reduction in the city.
I live out in the boondocks. So I would pay more overall taxes, while city residents would pay less. And I’d get no boost in services.
There’s hardly any services where I live now. When Lucky starts school, I’ll have to drive her seven miles just to meet the school bus. One mom in my neighborhood home schools her four children because the schools are so far away.
I think part of the reasons for my crankiness is that my department has been downsizing and my company froze everyone’s pay. A few top people in my building took pay cuts. If things don’t turn around, I fear layoffs as has been done at other newspapers.
My company isn’t the only one suffering. A large department store in my town closed this year. Art galleries have also been closing.
This is why the timing of these new taxes and tax breaks for special interests is bad. I don’t think most people would agree with me, however.
The majority of workers in my town draw government paychecks. Their raises are guaranteed by union contracts.
But speaking as a worker whose paycheck is dependent on what’s going on in the private sector, I think the taxpayers are getting the shaft.