BEACON PHOTO (ABOVE) BARB SHEPHERD/STOCK PHOTO UP, UP, UP — This TRIM — Truth in Millage — notice for a Downtown DeLand commercial building shows the owners’ taxes will increase by about $1,486 this year, if currently proposed millage rates and budgets aren’t altered before being adopted. The property’s taxable value increased by 10 percent, the maximum allowed by state law. That means the property-tax bill would go up, even if elected officials didn’t increase the tax rates.

Have you received your TRIM notice yet?

I hope most if not all of our readers saw the banner line in The Beacon’s Aug. 5-11 edition, “Taxes are going up.”

It never ceases to amaze me how government seems to think it should be immune to or exempt from the ills and woes that beset the people. The attitude is, “These are hard times. You must sacrifice.”

Truly, the past year-and-a-half has been difficult, as the pandemic has disrupted and changed life.

There are a couple of things you, the taxpayer, should keep in mind as your leaders call upon you to pay more for your “quality of life.”

First, they complain about losses of revenue. Many families have also suffered losses of revenue. Some of their losses were total, as many businesses shut down, maybe never to reopen.

The loss of one’s livelihood and the ability to provide for those depending upon the breadwinner goes beyond the loss of mere dollars. The sense of pride and dignity in honest work defies a price tag or an entry on a balance sheet.

Secondly, to offset the loss of revenue, the Congress has doled out trillions of dollars to local and state government through stimulus bills, the CARES Act last year and the American Rescue Plan Act passed earlier this year.

Yes, you personally likely received a payout also, but your payout was rather small and was likely expended very quickly.

It is worth noting that the wisdom of such stimulus bills is highly questionable. All our national leaders did was to pile more debt on top of a mountain of debt that, barring something unforeseen, will enslave the working classes for decades, as more paper money backed by no real assets ignites the flames of inflation. That is another subject for another day, however.

Keep in mind that local governments are beginning their new fiscal year with very healthy “fund balances” of cash reserves set aside for emergencies. Yes, it is prudent to prepare for a hurricane — or hurricanes, as in 2004 — but many hard-hit households are already in an emergency. Tap the savings, and give people a break.

Thirdly, now is a good time to ask if we need all the government for which we pay. As your leaders tell you to sacrifice, are they willing to lead by example and put austerity in local government?

For those elected officials who say they simply “cannot go to the rolled-back rate this year, but maybe next year,” consider a true can-do story.

After the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, the badly damaged USS Yorktown limped back to Pearl Harbor. The aircraft carrier was critically needed in the Pacific war, but repairing it would take time.

The Yorktown’s captain, Adm. Frank Fletcher, told Adm. Chester Nimitz it would take at least a month to make the ship seaworthy and ready for combat again. “Frank, you have three days,” Nimitz told Fletcher.

Nimitz wanted the Yorktown ready to sail for the then-imminent Battle of Midway.

Immediately, the Yorktown’s crew and others went to work repairing the ship that was almost sunk in its prior battle. The Yorktown was able to join the hard-pressed U.S. fleet in what would become the turning point of the war in the Pacific. Though the Yorktown was lost at Midway, its presence was crucial.

Now, let’s ask leaders who say they cannot go to the rolled-back rate, “Can you not find ways to cut spending? Is lowering the tax burden more difficult and deadly than winning World War II?”

Say “can do” rather than “cannot.”


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