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Public safety is worthwhile use of tax dollars

POSTED: June 22, 2011 1:00 a.m.

The letters to the editor in Saturday's Times provided the clearest possible illustration of the depths to which the Republican anti-tax obsession has degenerated.

Certainly nobody enjoys paying more in taxes and just as certainly politicians do not enjoy proposing increases. However, the suggestion that "spending" on law enforcement, public safety and emergency services should be cut rather than increasing taxes slightly is incomprehensible.

The writer who thinks it would be preferable to have to pay a "user fee" for ambulance and EMT service clearly has no clue that the cost of such services, if borne solely by the user, would far outweigh any tax savings. Possibly he thinks that accidents will never happen to him or his family, or more likely he just assumes that emergency personnel would go ahead and help him or his loved ones anyway whether he paid or not - much like the man in Tennessee who refused to pay his "user fee" for fire protection, only to see the firefighters allow his house to burn.

The simple fact is that everyone in the community has a vested interest in maintaining public health and safety. Those who would sacrifice the safety of others and even their own families in order to keep a few dollars in their pockets right now are simply deluded.

Multiple studies have shown that the overall tax burden in the U.S. today is at the lowest rate since the 1950s. It's clear that some people have allowed extremists from the right wing to convince them that they are somehow being oppressed in having to pay anything at all.

The reality is that there are going to be some essential services that government simply needs to provide, even if it means that citizens need to contribute a little more at times to pay for it. We cannot allow a group of people who have elevated their resentment for paying taxes to the level of a religion to compromise the safety of the community as a whole.

Bryan P. Sorohan
Gainesville



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