Food tax hurts poor the most

  • Thursday, December 20, 2012 10:42am
  • News

I do not believe that food should be taxed all year. This is because sales tax is a regressive tax and places a larger burden on the disadvantaged, elderly and handicapped citizens. A regressive tax means the less income you have, the greater the percentage of your income goes to that tax and so the bigger the impact on the budgets of the disadvantaged.
Progressive taxes, such as income tax and property tax, mean the greater your income the larger the percentage of your income you pay for taxes (except some differences for other tax rules, exemptions, etc.) but basically that’s the dynamic. If your income is more, you pay a smaller percentage of it for the tax and so it has less of an impact on your standard of living. In our society we have some of both types of taxation. But all people should understand the implications of each kind.
I believe it is OK to have a regressive sales tax on other items, say clothing, hardware, etc., which people can do without or find an alternative source (second hand or cheaper). But everyone needs food; there are no alternatives for your family each day.
I do not believe that prepared foods should be taxed either because there are segments of our population for whom this would have a huge impact. The elderly who are trying to remain independent for as long as possible often use prepared foods regularly, likewise handicapped folks who are living as independently as they can. Those folks can often least afford the extra tax.
Where could the city get more revenue? I believe that the city should have priorities for their budget items: No. 1 would be the health and safety of our citizens; No. 2 would be basic services; No. 3 would give high priority to education/youth. Other items would be funded only after 1-3 were taken care of.
I believe that if people who live out of the city need to be charged for some city services, that is far more fair than sales tax on food all year.
I believe that when folks say they don’t want to burden just the property-owners with more taxes — implying that folks who rent do not incur those costs also — that is incorrect. When taxes on rental property are raised — perhaps not immediately, but as soon as a new lease is negotiated — the rental amount will be increased.
The Homer City Council needs to listen to citizens who speak out, now and especially the two times this tax was voted down. They need to scrutinize the whole budget, to prioritize needs and wants, and then be fair to all citizens when they decide how it will be paid for.
Lani Raymond

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