Though no one likes paying taxes, we all know that we must pay them if we are going to have a society that functions effectively. We all want good roads, a quality education system, an adequate police force, a clean environment and a health care system that adequately cares for all of our citizens. The question, then, is how much should we pay for these assets we all depend on?
We all know that regardless of how much we give government, it will always find ways to spend it and want more. Perhaps the most effective way to determine what is the right amount to pay in taxes is to compare what the citizens of Louisiana pay relative to other states. Considering health care is the single largest societal cost and that we have one of the unhealthiest populations in the nation (48th), you might expect that we would pay relatively more taxes than the national average. The Tax Foundation tracks Tax Freedom Day — the date when the citizens of the U.S. and of the respective states have earned enough money to pay for all of their federal, state and local taxes. The National Tax Freedom Day for 2015 will be on April 24 (or May 8 if one adds to this the amount of additional debt we incur from deficit spending.) Louisiana’s Tax Freedom Day is April 2. We are ranked No. 1 as having the earliest Tax Freedom Day of any state.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has drawn a line in the dirt and said the citizens of Louisiana should not pay any more taxes than we are currently paying. Meanwhile, our higher education and health care systems are being severely and destructively underfunded. Our highways and bridges are in poor condition and are continuing to deteriorate.
I am not recommending that we increase our taxes to the point that we match the national average. But there is definitely room for us to increase revenues in our state in order to pay for the services that we all want and need. Taxes are the “price of civilization.” And if we don’t pay them, then some things will be lost.
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