Why talk about Tax Freedom Day as Election Day nears?
Tax Freedom Day, calculated by the Tax Foundation, is that day when taxpayers have earned enough money to pay all their federal, state and local taxes for the year.
This year in Illinois, Tax Freedom Day was calculated to be April 23.
Before that date, state taxpayers worked for the government.
After that date, they worked for themselves.
Tax Freedom Day effectively dramatizes the tax burden. Illinoisans pay the equivalent of nearly 4 months of their income on taxes.
What Tax Freedom Day fails to do is focus on elected officials who decide how to spend those precious tax dollars.
That’s what Election Day is for.
Tuesday, Nov. 6, is a day of reckoning for elected government officials.
Are they spending your money efficiently?
Are they spending your money foolishly?
How do the non-incumbent candidates say they would spend your money?
Taxpayers work long and hard to pay the government what they owe.
That’s half the job.
The other half is riding herd on elected government officials who spend the money.
Thousands of Sauk Valley registered voters take the responsibility seriously.
You’ll see them at the polls on Tuesday.
But, if history is any indication, thousands of other Sauk Valley registered voters won’t show up. They pay their taxes, they expect the money to be spent wisely, but they don’t do their part to make sure of it.
They spend all of January working to pay the tax man.
All of February and March, too.
They work more than three weeks into April before their tax obligations are met.
That’s a long time.
By comparison, educating yourself about the candidates doesn’t take very long.
Voting takes even less time.
Lincoln said our government was “of the people, by the people, for the people.”
The more that people participate, the more representative government will be of the people’s will.
Non-voters pay taxes, but they don’t pay attention to what happens next.
We invite non-voters to change their ways and choose a different path.
That path is one of participation, oversight and judgment.
That path embraces a citizen’s responsibility in our government of, by, and for the people.
That path leads to the polls on Election Day.