• Who do I owe?
     | November 19,2012

    Just made my property tax payment.

    Saved some money because of my homeowner’s rebate. I want to thank someone, but I can’t figure out whom to thank. They paid $400 of my property taxes; I have no idea why. My family income is well above the median. My house is valued at median. My family isn’t in poverty or crisis, but I got a rebate. Why?

    Who’s paying my taxes?

    Who’ll be paying them next year?

    The Legislature seems to be forever battling a multi-million dollar shortfall while I’m getting rebates.

    Will lawmakers short the retirement fund? Lay off a state trooper? Close a rest stop? Delay replacing a bridge?

    Or will they raise a few fees? Tax sugar and soda? Or raise the education tax?

    Don’t take my money, or my neighbor’s money, or a retiree’s money, or a visitor’s money to fund my rebate.

    Don’t tax what I eat, drink, or breathe to fund my rebate.

    Don’t tax my hospital stay, my doctor’s visit, or my dental care to fund my rebate.

    Quite simply, don’t give me a rebate.

    Don’t get me wrong. My property taxes are way too high. No wonder; my school has more aides than classroom teachers.

    It has as many administrators, social workers and behaviorists as educators.

    I can send a child to college for the per-student cost of elementary school.

    But I don’t want a rebate; just lower my taxes. Any taxes.

    Gasoline taxes. Income taxes. Sales taxes. Entertainment taxes. Meal taxes. Utility taxes. Property taxes. Pick one or two.

    Let me keep my money. Don’t send me a “gift.” I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I don’t like it.

    I trust your intention was good, but every good intention is riddled with waste. I didn’t scheme to get mine.

    How many people who make a lot more than I do have homes worth far more than mine, and get rebates many times larger?

    Who’s picking up the tab?

    Elections are over.

    I hope the 2013 edition of the Vermont Legislature works to cut programs and cut spending, not to raise — and waste — taxes.

    George Malek lives in East Barre.

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