What Do You Thank Taxes For? [Reader Forum]

With the deficit-reduction battle focused on service cuts for all of us and tax cuts for the rich, we stopped to ask what we're all paying for. Here's what some of you told us.

By Channing Kennedy Apr 17, 2011

Our editor Kai Wright closed out this week with a paean to taxes, that unsung hero of civilized society, naming six public goods that have shaped his life and shouting out the Thank Taxes campaign. In a time when the GOP’s deficit-reduction proposal consists entirely of tax cuts for the rich and service cuts for everyone else, it’s helpful to stop and take stock of how taxes really do benefit all of us–and how they enable our least well-off neighbors to achieve that American dream.

We invited y’all to chime in on Facebook about what tax-funded endeavors you’re grateful for. Turns out, it’s a lot!

Sherri L. starts us off with a winner:


Angela D.:

Public schools! Tap water! Garbage & recycling collection!

Pivo D.:

Sidewalks, street lights and a sewer system.

Gwyneth O.:

Libraries! Freeways and bridges that don’t collapse.

Elisa S.:

I live across the street from a BEAUTIFUL city park here on the edge of downtown Tacoma, WA. It’s smallish but big enough that a few laps is great exercise. The playground just got updates and is fabulous – always swarming with kiddos. The park’s usually got tons of folks, even on gray days. I smile thinking about how many people have increased quality of life because of this beautiful urban space to stretch our legs and lungs in. I also want to appreciate Representative Laurie Jinkins, of my district, who is not only the first out lesbian to rep washington in Olympia, and a wonderful advocate for many things good, but also keeps us updated on her activities via facebook. I always know what she’s up to in her work, and I think that’s SO COOL that she prioritizes that in her time. Taxpayer funded salary so well spent!!

Not everyone accentuated the positive–and rightly so. Here’s Tanisha W.:

Correctly managed taxes are cool. The current state of affairs, however…

And Ashley S.:

Libraries – definitely. Not fond of our police state that that $75 bil. "security" expenditure supports, but now that it’s here – and no one has constitutional rights or freedom because of it – no Congressperson in his or her right mind would commit suicide by trimming or eliminating it, which is sad, given how they’ve already degraded public education with private schemes and the money would be way better spent there, creating thinking citizens than in a security industry that thrives on brutality.

Cyndi M. brings us back to a happy place:

It shocks me how many people don’t realize that we are all better off because of Kai’s 3rd grade teacher, even those who have never met her or Kai or even read Colorlines. My neighborhood, city and country are safer and more productive because of public education, and would be that much better if we actually had good public education for all! This is why even those without school-age children should be happy to fund it.

And our own Julianne Ong Hing joins in on Twitter:

And me? Well, as the son of a librarian, and as the partner of a recent library school graduate, I gotta go with the obvious answer and say libraries. Fire departments, though: why can’t they be allowed to prove their value by competing on the open market? (Kidding.)

And by the way, Tax Day isn’t until the 18th this year. So what else are you grateful for? We want to hear about it!

Want to join the conversation? Tell us here in the comments on Colorlines.com, or hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Tumblr.