There is something wrong with democracy when it pits those who pay taxes against those who consume those very same taxes. And there is something very wrong when the political class fuels this class war.
No matter the justification, this view of democracy is simply the supposedly morally-justified method to rob your neighbor. But theft is always theft.
City income-tax backers woo retirees
Wednesday, June 10, 2009 3:08 AM
By Robert Vitale
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Roberta Johnson says it seems as if the emergency-medical squads reach her Near East Side senior-housing complex within seconds of a call for help.
And an increased police presence around Mount Vernon Plaza makes her neighbors feel safe enough to sit outside again on warm summer nights, she adds.
Johnson, who is 67, thinks older residents place a high value on Columbus city services that officials warn are in danger unless voters approve an income-tax increase Aug. 4.
Yesterday, she helped deliver a message that tax backers hope will win over the high-turnout bloc of voters: Higher taxes won't take a cent out of their pensions or Social Security checks.
Johnson and other supporters of the special-election ballot measure formally kicked off their campaign yesterday outside a Franklinton fire station. Citizens for Strong Neighborhoods and Good Jobs includes neighborhood leaders, labor unions and elected officials.
In addition to making the case for protecting police and fire protection, the supporters emphasized who would -- and wouldn't -- feel the pinch from a tax increase that would cost people an additional $50 for every $10,000 earned. The measure would increase the income-tax rate from 2 percent to 2.5 percent.
"Those who can afford it will pay the most," Johnson said. "Those who are poor will pay the least. For those of us living on pensions, we won't pay anything at all."
Retirees are among a number of groups exempt from Columbus' income tax. Pensions and Social Security aren't subject to the tax, nor are military pay, disability payments and income earned by children.
"They're trying to peel away groups of people," said Heidi Samuel, an East Side resident who started an anti-tax group called Not Right Now. "I don't think for one minute seniors are going to overlook the burden it puts on their neighbors," Samuel said.