Taxpayers already pay heavily for government services, reader says

To the editor:

When my uncle returned from World War II, he purchased a small home on Long Island, where he and my aunt raised four children.

He went to work for an aircraft builder and worked hard for 40 years. When he retired, he was forced to sell his home and move to Texas to live with one of his children. The reason for this was his property taxes on this home he purchased for $8,000 in 1944 were now $8,000 per year.

At the Mehlville Board of Education’s tax-rate public hearing, Superintendent Eric Knost stated, “Rolling back the residential rate 1 cent on a roughly $150,000 home saves the taxpayer $2.85 and costs the district $117,000. To roll back the commercial rate 1 cent on a $500,000 business saves the taxpayer $16 in a year and costs the district $29,000.

“In personal property, using a ‘Blue Book’ value of $9,000 on a vehicle saves the taxpayer $3 and costs the district $24,000. I want to be careful we’re not touting … we’re doing some great favor to the taxpayers by giving them back what most likely is going to be the equivalent of not a whole lot of money …”

It is exactly this type of attitude that forced my uncle from his home of 40 years. When you look at your tax bill each year, keep in mind the number of different taxing entities we support.

The county tax bill alone lists the following: state of Missouri, County General Fund, County Health Fund, County Park Maintenance, County Bond Retirement, Roads and Bridge, St. Louis Community College, Special School District, Metropol-itan Zoo Museum District, County Library, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District, Sheltered Workshop, Mehlville Fire Protec-tion District and Mehlville School District.

Then we have a 6.925-percent sales tax, a motor-fuel tax of 17 cents per gallon and personal property tax.

On your telephone bill, you have a County Gross Receipts Surcharge, a Federal Uni-versal Service Charge, a Regulatory Cost Recovery Charge, a County Telecom Tax and a Missouri Telecom Tax — not to mention a 22-cent, per-pack cigarette tax, 17 cents for the state and 5 cents for the county; a state income tax of $1,875 on an income of $35,000; and a federal gasoline tax of 18.4 cents per gallon.

This is on top of a federal income tax of $1,875 on an income of $35,000, transportation fees, excise taxes and thousands of licensing fees. The late U.S. Sen. Everett Dirksen said, “A billion here, a billion there and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

In this case, a dollar here, a dollar there and pretty soon you are talking real money.

It is estimated that the average American pays an all-taxes rate in excess of 40 percent. The superintendent should fight for his school district and lay out the needs of this district, but let’s be clear, taxpayers already pay heavily for government services. It is not proper to trivialize taxes in this way.

After all, taxpayers work hard for every penny they earn.