Response to article about use tax

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Dear Editor:

I am writing in regards to the Jan. 10 front-page article titled "Use tax to be subject of hearing." I am unable to attend the Jan. 18 meeting but would like to make my opinion known.

I stand in opposition to the special use tax proposed by the Barry County Commission. The reason for my opposition is quite simple; the citizens of Barry County pay quite enough in taxes thank you very much. It doesn't matter if this particular tax increase will not affect me. Politicians know that a population is more likely to agree to a tax increase if it doesn't affect them. If the County Commission gets away with targeting a minority group of citizens for this tax increase, the victory will embolden them to target other minority groups for taxing later. Eventually we will all be affected. I urge my fellow citizens not to fall for this despicable divide and conquer tactic.

According to the Tax Foundation, a 60-year-old, non-partisan tax research group based in Washington, D.C., it took the average Missouri citizen 116 days to pay his or her total tax obligations in 2006. This means that the average Missouri citizen spent approximately 32 percent of the year toiling for the bloated desires of government instead of the real needs of his or her family and future. Enough is enough.

It's about time that government officials at all levels remember that its citizens have much more important obligations than feeding the insatiable desires of government. These obligations include, but are not limited to, tithing to our churches, house payments, car payments, saving for retirement, saving money for our children's college, food, clothing, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. Considering the median income in Barry County is only $28,906 and the per capita income only $14,980 (2000 Census), every cent taken in taxes significantly reduces the ability of the citizens of Barry County to meet their religious and family obligations.

In the article, Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren states that the commission has begun considering ways to increase county revenues due to rising costs and demands for more services by the citizens of Barry County.

I would like to point out that the citizens of Barry County are in the same boat as the County Commission. The rising costs are also having a negative effect on us. It is becoming more and more difficult to make ends meet because even though the costs of everything around us are rising, wages are not. We also have to find ways to make ends meet. That would include my fellow citizens the County Commission wants to tax.

Instead of looking for ways to pick the pockets of the citizens of Barry County, the County Commission should do what the rest of us have to do, which is to tighten their belts and look for ways to save money. Surely out of a $4 million budget, $200,000 of savings can be found. If not and cuts have to be made, speaking for myself, I can live with that. As for those Barry County citizens demanding more and more services, see you at the polls.


Jim Hackney

Cassville, Missouri

Editor's Note: It should be noted that the Barry County Commission has made no decision whether or not to place the use tax in the ballot. The Jan. 22 hearing is planned to gather citizen input. The use tax would have to receive voter approval before it could be enacted.