Thursday, February 23, 2012

I Pay My County Taxes Gladly

While I catch up reading books and doing my music theory assignments, here is a letter that will appear in the Chronicle of Glens Falls today. (Warren County is named for one of my claimed ancestors, Dr. Joseph Warren, of Bunker Hill fame. The population is 65,700, 10% of whom are below the poverty line. 1.4% (920) of households earn $250,000 or more.)

To the Board of Supervisors, and
the Office of the County Administrator
Warren County, New York

Dear Friends,

Thank you for the receipt for my county taxes and for the information provided on the yellow insert. I appreciate having access to that data.

However, the insert seems to assume that taxes are a bad thing. Unfunded mandates probably worked well when the economy was booming. You could have noted that Gov. Cuomo has already taken action to reduce them. The Medicaid mandate will be reduced and ultimately eliminated by his actions in conjunction with the Affordable Health Care Act (the so-called “Obamacare”) when it takes effect in 2014.

I have no objection to the Welfare or “other” New York State mandates. Of course there is nothing that can’t be improved. Any waste in these programs should be ferreted out. There should be regular review of these programs and how they are funded to make them more effective.

What I want to tell you most of all is that I have NO objection to paying my $789 a year to help the poor, the sick, children in need of special education, and the many other services and expenses covered by these taxes. I know that there are many people in our county who have not had the opportunities they need to succeed. Others have abilities that are unneeded in today’s economy. I find it astounding and greatly satisfying that you can provide so many good works in my name, in addition to the Sheriff’s Department, Health Services, Office for the Aging, Dept. Of Public Works, Westmount Health Facility, Countryside Adult Home, County Clerk, District Attorney, and their support services.

The insert implies that our taxes are too high. It seems to support political groups that oppose all taxes. I think that you can find a more objective way in which to share this important information with us.  You could do it in ways that show how representative democracy, federalism, and shared responsibility for the common welfare work. We should find ways to celebrate the good things that the county does. I would like to think that the county would provide all these services, even if some of them were not mandated.

Thank you for any efforts you make both to reduce costs and to provide more effective services to those in need.

Dennis L Maher
Lake Luzerne

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