I am asking my Supervisor, Kelly Burk, to raise my taxes. I'm asking the Town of Leesburg to raise my taxes. Heck, I'm even asking the Democratic Congress to raise my taxes.
I understand that there's a direct relationship between the taxes I pay and the quality of government I receive. I understand that paying taxes means money for things like smaller class sizes, teacher salaries, ice melt and snow plows, trash service and police. I also understand that not managing revenue in such a way as to plan for recessions, or blizzards, can have dire and awful consequences that all come about at once.
Like December, 2009, for example.
In the midst of a truly awful budgetary season, one in which Loudoun contemplates dropping to the bottom of its peers in school financing, one in which the wealthiest county in America (that's right, wealthier than Fairfax) has a difficult time finding money for essential services and maintenance, we get hit with a massive snowstorm. The County (and Town of Leesburg) did a good job keeping up with, and cleaning up after, the mess. But they did not do a great job. Side streets like the on my office is on are still impassible two days after the storm stopped. Schools were cancelled leading to a very extended Christmas break.
Neighbors will complain about the quality, timeliness and extent of snow removal. Parents will complain about school closures. And yet, there is often a willful blindness about the cause of these inconveniences - financing. When the County is forced to trim money from the snowy day fund, and we get hit with a snowstorm. This happens. When schools are asked to do more with less for year after year, eventually the schools will be unable to do anything at all.
I decline to accept that as an inevitable outcome. I know I can do something about it. I can do the unpopular, but necessary thing. I can be a responsible citizen and say, "Enough, I want more from my government, and I am willing to pay for it." And I do.
Raise my taxes. I am willing to pay for the things my family and neighbors need. I'm willing to admit that, hey, I'm extremely lucky to live in the wealthiest county in America, and I will gladly pay my share for the benefits that brings.