There are few, if any, Americans who enjoy writing a check during the annual spring slaughter known as Tax Day.
I’m not the exception. Fortunately there have been few occasions in which this fatted calf has had to reach even further into its lint-lined pockets and come up with more money for Uncle Sam.
More often than not, what I’ve “contributed” during the year has been enough to keep the IRS satisfied that I’m doing my part. And while the deductions throughout the year hurt, I realize the money to pay for passable roads, fire protection, social services, and other necessities of communal living have to come from somehwere. I’m not averse to doing my part, as painful as it can be.
And while payroll deductions are demoralizing, I’m grateful the local, state and federal governments haven’t explored other means of collection.
Imagine if, taking a page out of public radio’s fundraising manual, members of the city council made pleas for donations during council meetings.
“I’m Mayor Cheryl Cox—”
“And I’m Councilwoman Pamela Bensoussan, and before we motion for a vote on the ordinance requiring city staff to greet each other and the public while smiling, won’t you please consider making a contribution to the city today?”
“Your donation will help us keep funding programs like graffitti abatement, library services—”
“Don’t forget car allowances and staff raises!”
“That, too, Councilman Ramirez... Donations that help us keep providing you these wonderful services you’ve come to expect day after day.”
“So if you’d like to continue having the city attorney drafting emergency ordinances that prohibit adult entertainment venues from popping up throughout the city...”
“Or if you like the notion of having sewer lines that don’t overflow during the Super Bowl, please give what you can today.”
The thought of having elected officials making public pitches for money is icky and awkward, not to mention a little like listeing to re-election campaigns. But it beats the alternative.
“Do you know why I pulled you over today?”
“I’m wondering if you’d like to make a donation to the police department’s fiscal year budget.”
“Well, I uh...”
“See my Taser, here? It’s an older model. About 16 years old. It has a tendency to act up. Discharges at unexpected times.”
“And this can of pepper spray...Shoot, it’s so old there’s no telling if it’ll still make people cry.”
“Who do I make the check to?”
So, yeah, having taxes taken out of your pay or having to write a check on April 15 isn’t the most appealing way of revenue collection. But it could always be worse.