I saw an article today that bugged me. A person was ranting that their taxes were going up and they get "nothing" for their taxes, that "the man" was constantly sticking it to the little people, the poor, etc.
So I thought I'd do a little research.
Here are a few costs that taxes pay for. Remember, if tax payers weren't footing the bill across the province and country, each and every municipality would have to duplicate all of this:
Road maintenance, summer: $1400 / lane kilometer, winter: $4000 lane kilometer (These are Ottawa numbers, so we could probably cut those in half for smaller communities)
OPP Constable: $75,000 /year
Paramedic x 2: $120,000 (You *need* two per call: At least one to drive, one to tend to patient)
Firefighter: x 2 $70,000 (You *need* at least two per truck: One to operate the pump, one to operate the hose: Less than four is both insane and unsafe)
Keep in mind, those salaries are just what's paid to the person, no benefits or pension amounts have been added (Which are required by law in most cases). There are *many* other costs involved in just living even in a small village: water treatment, sewage treatment, schooling, disaster control, so on and so forth.
Just from the incredibly tiny list above, though, we're looking at $398,000 in salaries alone. From my little village of 900 people to the closest city is 25 kilometers, two lanes, so add another $135,000 a year in road maintenance ($35,000 summer, $100,000 winter) just to make sure vehicles like police, ambulance, fire and citizens can get to and from the village. So right there, we're already at $533,000 a year in *basic* costs.
For a village of 900, that's about $600 a year - not too bad, right ?
Now let's add a couple more things to be a little more realistic:
1 police car: ~$32000
1 fire truck: ~$200,000 (equipped)
1 Ambulance: ~$150,000 (equipped)
1 medical office (*basic* equipment) ~$300,000
Now we're up to $1,215,000 to get set up in year one (no maintenance or disaster costs) - suddenly my village of $900 is now looking at $1350 a year per person (This is assuming that all 900 are tax payers - they're not, there are about 350 tax paying units in my village, so the realistic cost is $3900 per tax paying household)
Now, if we weren't taking this as a communal approach, you'd have to take that one and a quarter million dollars and divide it up amongst those who would actually be willing to pay. You'd *then* be faced with an ethical dillema: What do you do with a resident who needs services, but hasn't paid ? Sound insane ? There are communities in the United States where *exactly* that dillema has occurred: Man called the fire department because his home was on fire. Turned out he hadn't paid into fire protection, so his house was allowed to burn to the ground after firefighters ensured there were no people in the home.
There are a ton of costs I've missed above: One could probably realistically add at least another half million just to run my little village per year, bringing the total to 1.75 million, or $5000 / year per tax paying household. Considering my current property taxes are actually $1200 per year, I'd say I'm getting a pretty good deal and I ***know*** that I am getting services for my tax dollar, even though I may not use them all directly.
It's something to think about, whenever one may grumble about paying taxes and "getting nothing in return"...