Levy calculator will help inform local taxpayers

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 14, 2011

Regardless of whether you can follow that famous order by George H. W. Bush and read lips, nearly everyone has heard the mantra that now pops up during almost every election: “No new taxes.”

Although that may be a philosophy that sounds good in principle, the reality is that it often doesn’t add up financially for the best interest of our communities.

Property owners have to decide whether or not they want to pay for a variety of the services they already receive, as well as expanding others that may be much needed as well.

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Here in Lawrence County voters are asked nearly every year to support a tax levy of some type. Even those that provide valuable resources or address a critical need in our community often get shot down by voters.

Although this can be attributed to a variety of factors, we have to believe that some of it goes back to informing the voters.

To that end, Lawrence County Auditor Jason Stephens has worked to add a tool to the auditor’s website that allows taxpayers to see exactly how individual levies would impact them.

The auditor’s website already offers a variety of helpful tools. It really gives taxpayers the knowledge they need about what they owe and what they pay.

This is a welcomed addition that hopefully will allow voters to make more informed decisions. The auditor’s office isn’t endorsing for or against any levy but is instead providing information citizens need.

If an individual can see that voting to support senior citizens will only cost them an additional $13 a year, that may go a long way.

An across the board “no new taxes” approach will not allow our region to move forward. But a smart analysis will give voters information they need to decide what is best for our communities.