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A conversation between readers and the editor of The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Can "Voluntary Tax Diversion" really work to help local governments?

Reader Dennis T thinks he's got a better idea for helping to fund local governments, and he'd like someone with financial credentials to say whether it has a chance of working, if it were to be adopted.

Dennis T wrote:

I would like to ask for comments and suggestions concerning the idea that I wrote about in a Morning Journal letter to the editor on March 12. I called it "Voluntary Tax Diversion" (Click here to read the letter.) I think it has a lot of potential for increasing revenue for our local governments and public schools. It does require legislation to be passed at the federal government level. I will attempt to answer any questions that you might have over the next couple of days. Thanks.

To offer comments, click on the red "comments" link below.


Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

I don't know how to respond to the "idea". I don't believe there's a magic wand that will save the day.

If people were to pledge their tax dollars locally, there would be less tax money available for the federal government. Without a change in operations, the federal government would be required to raise the rates to cover expenses.

The only solution is to eliminate redistribution of wealth; that means no more government hand-outs to the "needy".

Let the needy learn to fend for themselves.

You asked, I answered. Don't hate me for my opinion.

March 26, 2010 at 9:22 AM 
Anonymous Dennis T said...

Thank you for your comments. I welcome opposing opinions like yours and I certainly don't hate you or anyone for expressing them. In fact I truly appreciate you taking the time to comment. And I want to thank everyone in advance for joining this discussion, both pro and con.

My letter had to be relatively short to make it into the paper so I lot of my thoughts were not presented. I am hoping that this is a good way to give you my thoughts and to listen to yours as well.

I agree that VTD (voluntary tax diversion) will result in less money going to our federal government. Some money (probably a small percentage) will come back to our federal government initially due to more people being employed locally who will be paying federal taxes. And if nothing else is changed at the expenditure side of our federal government, then VTD will increase the deficit. Like everyone else I have ideas how that should be addressed.

I feel that when local communities do well, then other levels of government will benefit too. My hope is that the extra money available to us locally will be used to develop our communities. It think that cities like ours are developed on a local, county and state level.

Thank you again for your comments.

March 26, 2010 at 12:38 PM 
Anonymous Ex-Lorainite said...

Dennis, I think you have a major flaw in your plan. You say "Some money (probably a small percentage) will come back to our federal government initially due to more people being employed locally who will be paying federal taxes."

If the tax rates are unchanged, the total tax dollars collected across the country will remain unchanged. Where are you suggesting the extra money to employ local people is coming from?

As we direct our tax dollars to the state (instead of to the fed), the fed will have less money to send down to the states. There is no net increase in money available to spend.

We have to reduce the entitlements going to the lazy leaches.

I don't think you've thought your plan out very well or you don't understand math.

March 26, 2010 at 1:42 PM 
Anonymous Dennis T said...

Mr. Skoch,

I enjoyed your column in yesterday's Morning Journal. Although you may not have been thinking about me when you wrote it, I want to believe that you were. Thank you for the opportunity that this thread has given me. As a first time online writer this has been very interesting and exciting.

Several months ago when your newspaper solicited ideas for helping the community financially I felt compelled to respond. At that time I had already been thinking about “voluntary tax diversion” (VTD). I thought about this for a long time even before I put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard). I thought about it some more before I decided to submit my written argument paper and outline to a few people for their review and comment. I continued to think about it and waited before I decided to submit this concept to the newspaper as a letter to the editor. After it was published I asked you if I could use this forum to further explain myself and receive comments and opinions. And you accepted.

I am unsure why there have not been more comments on this topic. Your Sunday column might partially be an answer to that question. If people feel intimidated and afraid that they will be personally criticized for their expressing their opinions, they may decide not to comment.

I expected to receive contrary opinions. I am going to accept them because I asked for them. They actually help me to develop my arguments and to be better prepared to answer the same or similar questions asked by others.

I can also accept the possibility that VTD may be a bad plan or that it may be difficult or impossible to enact and to implement. Right now I still think it is worth thinking about, talking about and writing about. Regardless, it is one of my attempts to make this world a better place. I will continue to think about ways to do just that.

Thank you again for the opportunity.

March 29, 2010 at 5:02 PM 

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