If we are to succeed as a state, we must re-frame the tax debate. Taxes, in and of themselves, are not evil. They are the dues we pay to belong to civilized society, the ground on which we build our common life. Taxes pay for good roads, for educational opportunity, for protection from both human harm and natural disasters, for justice for all, for the health and safety of us all (a health and safety that is threatened when we fail to protect the vulnerable). Louisiana is currently failing in nearly all of these respects. We need to change our thinking from cutting taxes and services to demanding sufficient taxes to fund essential services for our prosperity and protection. Indeed, taxes should be fairly distributed and wisely spent; however, legislators should be held accountable for not raising sufficient funds as well as for seeing that these funds are appropriately distributed for the maximum benefit of citizens. A “stand-still budget” is dereliction of duty.