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Voices of MainStreet: April Lee

A Reluctant Taxpayer

March 11, 2011

“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin

Yes, taxes are unavoidable, and I am always eager to get my taxes out of the way. I wait for the W-2s to arrive in the mail and as soon as I get them I file. Otherwise it weighs on my mind. Unfinished business makes it difficult to enjoy my weekend.

Well, that’s the idea at least. It’s logical but it doesn’t always work out that way. Life happens, distractions do what they do best, March has begun and I still haven’t finished my taxes. They’re not all that complicated. I don’t owe them any money. I’m pretty sure they owe me money. So what’s so unpleasant about doing my taxes?

It began as joke but now I am beginning to see the truth: I am very much like my cat, Billie. She’s fiercely loyal and insists on independence. Her whimsical moods are exhausting but there is no doubt that she is my cat. Most of the time she’s fine with doing what I ask as long as I give her room to be independent. I can convince her to do things but I can never make her do it. That’s the key. She chooses her own actions.

I don’t want to be forced to do my taxes for fear of punishment. I’d rather you convince me it’s in my best interests. So far, my government is doing a terrible job and now I’m stuck like a dog obeying orders. There is no doubt I love my country and support its well-being. I’m happy to have been brought up as an American. Taxes seem very un-American. I’m not on the tea party band wagon, I’m only thinking this through.

My money has sat in two different banks so far in my life. I didn’t like one bank so I switched. Currently, I am researching credit unions because I am thinking of changing my money’s location again. Competition is great for business, efficiency, productivity and ethics. People will stop supporting a business when it has ceased to provide what they consider good service. As it is, I’m in the “dog house” with my cat, Billie. I’ve been out too much lately and now must make up for the time I haven’t given her. She’s right. I’ve been a terrible pet-owner lately and I’m glad she keeps me in check. Freedom of Speech!

I wish I could do this with taxes without punishment. “Hello, U.S. government. Yes, I see you’ve spent here when I told you I wasn’t happy with that. You know what that means? I’m cutting you off. A deal’s a deal. I’m giving my money to the National Government (my made-up competitor for the government). No, I don’t owe you this. I’m happy to give it as long as you’re doing something I support. Take it up with someone else. Maybe my neighbor supports your policies. Good day.”

If the government had a competitor, we’d see better craftsmanship when it comes to taxes. On the other side of the coin, the customer has to care about quality. Research must be done. Billie never lets me feed her anything less than her standard of quality.

Perhaps if we did enough meowing outside of our government official’s offices we’d see some improvement. An immediate counter to all the complaining is, “Why don’t you move to another country then?!” Because I love America! I do. I don’t know why complaining is ever seen as a testament to not loving something. Being a citizen is like being married, I imagine. I guess I’m a bit of a traditionalist. I’m an American for life. I’d rather work with America instead of walking away but then I haven’t been pushed to my limit, yet. So I pay my taxes, speak up, I sign petitions, I vote, I stay as involved as I can and hope for the best.

—April is a well-traveled young woman planting her roots in sunny Seattle, or well, just Seattle. Her writing covers whatever piques her interest and curiousity. Check out her blog here.

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