What is the true value of income tax?

I don’t like paying taxes. I don’t like looking at my pay stub at the end of the month and imagining what those extra dollars would get me and I’m sure many of you feel the same way.

I recently read a column blaming income tax for why so many people can’t get ahead. The author called the government cash hungry and I think the moral of the story was to leave the money in the hands of the people who earn it.

I could definitely be on board with having more money at the end of the month and I was daydreaming about all the places I would travel with those dollars when I hit a pothole on the highway.

And that’s when I remembered, less money to the government means less services for all of us.

What would I be willing to give up? Highway maintenance spending? Health care access? Pension? Environmental initiatives? Child care benefits? Foreign diplomacy? The CBC? Employment insurance? Somewhat affordable post secondary education? Student loans and bursaries?

Who, or what would step up to fill the gaps? Would that mean tolls on highways and bridges? Or fee for service health care? Maybe our Canadian passports wouldn’t get us into as many places without a visa. Maybe our trade relationships would be different because of a lack of funding for the committees and meetings that make those agreements happen.

Maybe there would be less police officers and EMTs to respond to emergencies. Maybe military spending would decrease and the search and rescue teams would take a hit. The government also funds the crews that go out and clean up oil spills. Would those services be cut?

And then the not-for-profits that rely on government funding would definitely take a hit. Would there be more stray dogs never to find a forever home? Would there be more people stuck in abusive relationships because the services that are currently available got their funding cut? Would all of those tires stay at the bottom of the bay because there aren’t any government grants for environmental groups?

On that note, what if funding to the fisheries got cut? Say goodbye to sport fishing, because we’d run out of fish.

And what about primary education? If we stopped paying income tax would the education system turn to fee for service? Or maybe there would just be 100 Grade 2 aged kids in one classroom learning from one teacher who spends most of his or her time sending home letters asking for parents to sponsor things like textbooks and whiteboard markers.

But if I had more money at the end of the month, why would I care about any of this?