THE TAX ATTIC with Jerry Coon

Taxes make our world go

Jerry Coon

If you didn’t make it out to the West Michigan Healing Fields event at Cannonsburg this past weekend, you missed a truly inspiring and emotional event. Seeing 3,200 flags waving in the breeze up the ski slope was quite the sight. It was an even better sight looking down at the flags from the top of the hill.

As a volunteer Rotarian, I had the honor of taking a couple of World War II veterans, both in their 90s,

up the hill on golf carts supplied by Boulder Creek Golf Course. Both of them discussed the 9/11 event in terms of Pearl Harbor at the start of WWII. People of their generation could tell you where they were when they heard the news that Pearl Harbor was attacked. That event was indelibly etched forever into their memory banks.

I can tell you where I was when we were informed that President Kennedy was assassinated. That’s something I believe I will always be able to recall.

Similarly, practically anyone who was alive 10 years ago can tell you when they heard or saw the World Trade Center attacked. It was that type of world-changing event. Pearl Harbor ushered in WWII. September 11 brought the War on Terror into our living room and it has remained there.

September 11 also brought back some of the patriotism that seemed to be lacking somewhat in our society. Remembering those who perished in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93 is a great exercise in patriotism. All of us who walked through the flags on the hill of Cannonsburg Ski Lodge will attest to that.

Paying taxes is also patriotic. Taxes are what make our world go around.

At our local level, we pay real estate property taxes. Those taxes help to run the City of Rockford, Kent County, and the Rockford Public Schools.

At the Michigan level, we pay sales tax and personal income tax. That sales tax gets funneled back to our schools, and income tax is used to provide the services we are accustomed to receiving, such as those provided by the Secretary of State.

At the federal level, we pay personal income tax and various other taxes, such as gas tax. Those taxes come back to us in the form of road and bridge improvements, or at least the maintenance thereof; the regulation of various items such as drugs and medicines; the regulation of intra-state commerce; and the maintenance of our national security.

If we don’t all pay our share, whatever that share is, the whole system suffers, and if it suffers enough, it could fall apart. This system of ours is built on paying some amount of money for the public good. That “some amount of money” could come from real estate property tax, sales tax, excise tax, gas tax, or income tax, etc., etc. Some people pay some of each of the taxes. Some people only pay sales tax or gas tax.

However you cut it, though, income tax should only be one piece of the puzzle. Instead, it has become the major piece of the puzzle. The budgets of the states, such as Michigan, and the federal government have become so large that politicians think that increasing income tax is the only way to balance the budget.

Increasing taxes to raise more revenue is not a permanent answer. It’s temporary and won’t work in the long term. Spending less is a permanent answer.

In Michigan, Governor Snyder and the current legislature has made a multitude of adjustments to decrease the budget so that increasing the income tax rate is not the only option available. These adjustments are causing short-term pain, but the whole system will be stronger in the future. The federal government will also have to make budgetary adjustments. These adjustments will cause short-term pain but, if successfully implemented, will maintain the integrity of the system well into the future. This is Jerry Coon signing off.

Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent. He owns Action Tax Service in Rockford. Contact Jerry at


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