When taxes lead to tea parties | Angie Vogt

The Washington state Legislature just wrapped up its 29-day special session and finally settled on a budget. The easiest thing in the world is to sit on the sidelines and pick apart their many grueling decisions on who, where and what to tax next. There are just so many choices. Why hold back?

They opted to tax our sins (alcohol, soda, cigarettes) and several services (hairdressers, tanning bed salons, accountants, lawyers). Of course, they were especially creative with the general, everyday “thinking of you” tax they imposed on bottled water. Here’s hoping our Olympians won’t hear about the state of Pennsylvania’s newest tax on funeral homes.

At the same time we are paying more taxes, we are also witnessing some devastating cuts in vital areas of education and public safety. King County Sheriff Sue Rahr just announced the very real possibility of 12 percent cuts in county law enforcement. This is a hard pill to swallow in our county, which has seen an increase in crime in recent years. Again, we are told that we need to be more sacrificial during these tough times.

The areas of government funding that will be cut the most severely are the two most critical functions of government: Education and public safety. There can’t be a 12 percent cut in the governor’s staff? How about a 12 percent cut in DMV employees? How about a 12 percent cut in the services that keep my friend’s adult daughter in free housing, with free child care and medical care for all three children (born out of wedlock) while she shops and gets her nails done? (My friend has given me permission to use her daughter’s situation as an example of state waste, just so you know). And the daughter, who refuses to work, received a nice little tax return of $6,000. We were all relieved recently to hear her talk glowingly about how pleased she is with her health care (Medicaid). She literally has zero concern that her neighbors, friends and family are all footing the bill for her. This is the entitlement mentality that a nanny state breeds. The parents have had years of trying to make her realize this by not accommodating her, but the state is just too happy to oblige.

On another, but somewhat related note, this past Thursday saw a host of one-year anniversary “tea parties” across the nation. For the record, I am a fan of the Tea Party movement (an authentic sign of hope and change), though I have never participated in a Tea Party or appeared at any of the events.

King County, according to the New York Times, is ground zero for the Tea Party movement, which launched a year ago in response to the bailouts and obscene “stimulus” spending that began at the end of the Bush White House and quadrupled under President Obama. It began with a local Seattle blogger, Keli Carrender, also known as “Liberty Belle.”

Like it or not, the Tea Party is here to stay. Here’s hoping it will continue to remain independent and not become a third party or an arm of the Republican Party. A recent Gallup poll found 28 percent of U.S. adults say they support the Tea Party Movement, and that supporters are “quite representative of the public at large.”

Every time a government agency fails in performance, we’re told they just need more funding. Where else in the universe do you get a pay raise for failing to meet your goals? I believe that reasonable people are beginning to see these inconsistencies.

The problem is not that there’s not enough money in the public treasuries — it’s spending. In college, I worked and paid my own way through, so I have little sympathy for people who think they “deserve” a college education. My mom gave me some money to buy supplies, and I think I needed clothes or some other necessity. I ended up conserving my supplies and using the money to go to lunch with some girlfriends at a restaurant I usually couldn’t afford. I was actually quite proud of my ingenuity and budgeting finesse. My mother was livid. “You just don’t trust me!” I asserted, indignantly. Of course, I now understand that my mother was not mad about me spending money, and not even how much money I spent. She was angry that I betrayed her trust because of how I spent the money.

Happy birthday, Tea Party. Happy Tax Day.