1. Taxes and Tax-Supported Services
Taxes are fees charged to individuals or businesses on income, activities or products, by federal, state and local governments. In exchange, the taxpayer receives some advantage provided by the government. When you look at your paycheck, the total amount you earned isn’t the same as the amount you take home. Some of what you earn goes toward taxes. You pay taxes beyond those deducted from your paycheck as well. Your total tax bill is the sum of many, different taxes: federal income, state income, state and city sales, state and county property, and special use taxes such as those for gas, sanitation districts, water, fire protection, recreation and public schools. In the United States, the main taxes we pay are sales tax, income tax, and property tax.
Taxes provide money for the government to operate and provide services to you and others. Sometimes you may hear this irrational belief regarding taxes, “If I didn’t have to pay taxes, my life would be a lot better.” Taxes certainly do lower the amount of our disposable income. However, we also need and even want what our taxes pay for –education, police and fire protection, roads, parks, and all kinds of other services. What would we do if we each had to personally arrange and pay for these services?