News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Regardless of whether you believe taxes are crucial and helpful or unnecessary and unfair, it is important that your kids understand the concept of taxation, how tax money is collected and used, and what they can do to influence tax policy.
Here are a few kid friendly facts you can share with your children.
There are a lot of taxes in the U.S.
Individuals are taxed on property, purchases, income, wages, facilities use (tolls), and dying (death tax). Companies pay duties, tariffs, fees, registrations, and employment taxes. They pass these extra costs onto consumers as higher prices, which means individuals ultimately pay for business taxes.
U.S. taxpayers have little say on how tax money is spent.
Once the taxes are collected by a taxing agency, taxpayers have little control on how the money is allocated. As a result, it is critical that voters consider all tax referenda carefully. If a taxpayer does not like a tax he/she can circulate a petition to have the tax recalled, run for office, and/or work to get different politicians elected.
Taxes increase the power of the government.
Tax revenues give government entities control over large budgets, which can create problems with corruption as companies and individuals lobby to obtain projects bid by the government.
Taxes fund a wide variety of programs.
Taxes are used to pay for everything from roads and bridges to special projects like studying methane emission from dairy cows.
Private sector worker taxes pay for government jobs.
When someone works for a public school, a public college or university, the TSA, the military, a company who executes government contracts, an organization that receives government grants etc. his/her salary is paid by people working in the private sector. Even though government employees pay “taxes”, these “taxes” just reduce the cost of that worker, since the taxes go back into the pool of money used to pay government salaries. As a result, it is impossible for the government to operate without loans or tax contributions from private sector workers.
Tax marketing is often different from tax implementation.
Taxpayers are often more willing to approve taxes for education, so government agencies will sometimes market a tax as a way to improve schools without restricting the money to schooling.
Once your kids have an understanding of taxation they can make sound economic decisions for themselves and help their communities make wise choices about taxes and community services.
Education Next – Patrick J. Wolf
“Private school choice remains a controversial education reform. Choice programs, involving school vouchers, tax-credit scholarships, or Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), provide financial support to families who wish to access private schooling for their child…there are now 50 private school choice programs in 26 states plus the District of Columbia…But does it work?…The sum of the reliable evidence indicates that, on average, private school choice increases the reading scores of choice users by about 0.27 standard deviations and their math scores by 0.15 standard deviations. These are highly statistically significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.”(more)
Education News – Kristin Decarr
“Thousands of parents and children came together in Florida’s capital in an effort to persuade the largest teacher’s union in the state to drop a lawsuit against an education voucher program that benefits low-income families. Martin Luther King III led the rally, along with religious and community leaders, arguing that the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship offers opportunities to families who may not otherwise be able to have them, and urging the Florida Education Association to cease the lawsuit they have brought against the program, reports Jim Rosica for Florida Politics. The FEA, along with other critics of the program, believe the scholarships are taking money away from the public school system in Florida.”(more)
China Daily- XINHUA
“BEIJING — China cuts more than 300 billion yuan ($46.15 billion) of taxes in 2015 to boost mass entrepreneurship and innovation, according to official data.
Among this, tax exemptions and breaks on small enterprises reached 100 billion yuan and tax cuts designed to encourage high technology development totaled 140 billion yuan, according to the State Administration of Taxation.”(more)
The Washington Post – Lyndsey Layton
“Teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies — most of the nation’s nearly 4 million K-12 teachers — would be eligible for a permanent tax credit of up to $250 annually for unreimbursed expenses, under a bill passed by the House Ways and Means committee on Thursday…Teachers had already been eligible for a $250 tax credit but that provision had expired in January and had not been indexed for inflation. “This tax deduction is timely, permanent, and will go a long way toward making sure educators continue to provide what students need to succeed,” said Lily Eskelsen García, president of the National Education Association…”(more)
NPR – Eric Westervelt
“There are only a handful of these “wild playgrounds” in the country. They embrace the theory that free, unstructured play is vital for children and offer an antidote to the hurried lifestyles, digital distractions and overprotective parents that can leave children few opportunities to really cut loose. “It’s really central that kids are able to take their natural and intense play impulses and act on them,” says Stuart Brown, a psychologist and the founding director of the National Institute for Play. Children need an environment with “the opportunity to engage in open, free play where they’re allowed to self-organize,” he adds. “It’s really a central part of being human and developing into competent adulthood.” Brown says this kind of free-range fun is not just good; it’s essential. Wild play helps shape who we become, he says, and it should be embraced, not feared. Some educators advocate “dangerous play,” which they say helps kids become better problem solvers.”(more)