Is it time to say ‘enough is enough’ about taxes?

“We the people…” Do you ever wonder whether or not the document that phrase comes from, the Constitution of the United States of America, and the guarantees contained within it apply to us anymore? Well, I wonder about it. I feel like those early Americans who, out of frustration and in order to combat injustice, rebelled against King George in part because of “taxation without representation”.

I live, just barely, in the northern end of Cherokee County near Bullard. We bought property in Cherokee County believing the property taxes would be lower than the other counties surrounding Tyler. That is not proving to be the case. Every time I turn around and for every conceivable reason under heaven, our property is being “re-assessed” and our taxes go up. I don’t mind paying property taxes in order to provide and maintain roads to our property. We all want and need good roads and after all, it is the property owners that benefit most from good roads. But, let’s not forget, those of us who own the properties along them are not the only ones that use the roads.

But the question now has to be asked… do I as a property owner have to pay for everything else in the county as well? Why should property owners have to bear the primary burden for paying for schools, football stadiums, county government, as well as roads and bridges? If the county needs more money, just increase property taxes. Is that fair? Of course not! Wouldn’t it be fairer and more equitable if these funds were generated through a sales tax that would distribute this responsibility among everyone so that everyone entitled to use these services also help pay for them? Or, wouldn’t it be fairer if athletic facilities were built from borrowed money, not tax payer money, with the loan being paid back from ticket sales? And why not have regional football stadiums servicing several schools resulting in them receiving greater use and being paid for and maintained by several school districts?

It is one thing to pay taxes on a lot or acreage in order to build and maintain roads to access them. But what is the justification for paying taxes on our homes? Is it because that is what some politician desiring power and influence decided to do because he could? Most homes are not businesses generating income and they fall under the protection of the Texas Homestead Act. It seems to me that homeowners already make a significant contribution to the economy of their community by providing jobs through home builders, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, painters, landscape businesses, lawn care businesses, utility providers, medical providers, equipment dealers, agri-businesses, groceries stores, clothing stores, appliances dealers, automobile dealers, restaurant owners, and everything else we spend our money on…the list goes on and on. And heaven forbid that we make improvements to our home by remodeling or adding a room or building a storage shed or barn or swimming pool because we will get taxed for that as well…penalized for trying to live the American Dream. And don’t forget… when we sell our home and/or land, we’ll pay taxes then as well. Of that you can be certain. Therefore, what justifies the additional, excessive, and unjust taxation of our homes that only increases our cost of living? Exactly what are property owners getting for our tax dollars that justifies us bearing such a high and disproportionate share of taxes?

Some county government officials say they need that tax money to pay for services. What services? Those of us that live in the country have to pay for water service, electrical service, natural gas service, phone service, satellite service, trash pickup, and our own septic systems. We even pay to have those services installed. The county doesn’t provide and pay for any of that. They don’t even subsidize it.

But the county pays for roads and their up-keep. Really? I live on CR 3605, a small, narrow, winding, pothole filled, no road ditch, oil-top road. Now we have a traffic problem caused by traffic coming from Hwy 346 using 3605 as a shortcut to Bullard…some driving so fast that they run me, my family, and every other person they meet off the road. What about the potential of someone getting seriously hurt or killed from a head-on car collision? Does anyone even care?

So why shouldn’t I just complain to our elected officials. After all, they are elected to represent us, the ones whose tax money pays their salaries. Right! I’ve been down that road once too often and so here are my thoughts on that. In this election year, I have received a lot of requests from politicians to give money to their election campaign. But I’ve been thinking…they want me to volunteer my time and give them, with no strings attached, my money so that they can get elected to a job that pays them a salary. Why don’t they do like the rest of us? Go get a loan, use the money to fund their campaign and then pay it back from money they earn. I would be a whole lot more impressed if instead of asking me for my money, they would personally ask only for my vote. But what do we get…career politicians who, once elected, ignore us, do what is in their best interests, not ours, use their position to advance their careers, in some cases make a lot of money, and raise our taxes! And I won’t even get into health and retirement benefits that you and I, the taxpayers, do not have access to.

Well, maybe it is time for our version of the Boston Tea Party. Maybe it’s time we said, Enough Is Enough!

Michael D. Wooten

Bullard



Don’t believe everything coming out or Russia

The Dallas Morning News had two interesting articles in the Sunday, Aug. 17, and Monday, Aug. 18, editions.

In the Sunday Associated Press article, the Eastern European democracies, which include Poland, Ukraine and the Czech Republic, fear they will be sucked back into Moscow’s orbit. Poland is most fearful because it made a new missile-defense deal with the U.S. and that led a Russian general to say that Poland having made that deal had put itself in jeopardy of being attacked.

Sunday’s article was entitled “Russian genocide claim doubted.” Russia claimed that Georgia had killed 2,100 in Tskhinvali and nearby villages. The only hospital open during the fighting has recorded 40 deaths. This discrepancy raises serious questions about the truthfulness of the Kremlin’s version of events.

The world, not just the Untied States, needs to keep a close eye on this situation and the democracies of these countries. We should not believe everything that the kremlin is putting out there as truth.

Laurie Brown

Jacksonville



Teacher luncheon a joint effort

As church hostess for Rusk First Baptist Church, I must correct the story concerning the Teachers Appreciation Luncheon held at our church on Monday, Aug. 18.

The luncheon is sponsored by the Ministerial Alliance of Rusk and is held every year at a different church. It was just our church’s turn. The salads and desserts are furnished by the congregations of the community churches, not just by Rusk First Baptist.

Although it would be nice to be able to take all the credit, this is a joint effort by most of the churches and their members and we at FBC want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped to make the luncheon a success.

Maxine Pierce

Rusk

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