Thinking Out Loud: When those “few dollars” add up
Are you wealthy?
I ask the question because of things I hear with regard to cities wanting to raise taxes, public utilities wanting to raise rates and the cost of everything going up in general.
The most common presentation given is “it’ll only add seven dollars more per month to your bill” (or whatever arbitrary “minimal” amount is given as an increase to make it sound small.)
The key word that gets under my skin is “only”.
Five dollars here, ten dollars there...
Before you know it you’re spending an extra twenty, fifty or hundred dollars more per month.
These increases might be the “only” extra money someone has to eat or put gas in their car.
The “only” amount is fine if you have that extra little bit of money each month, but about those who don’t? Many residents are on social security, disability, or other type of fixed income. They simply can’t afford to lose anything more from their monthly budget.
But it’s just a few dollars more…
Tell that to the single mom who has a negative bank account balance after paying for child care and simple necessities. Tell that to the person who works 70 hours a week only to come up short each week.
There are also many residents who are unemployed as well as average people who are under employed.
Do their voices matter?
Whether you’re poor or a millionaire, your money is your money. I’d like to think if you have it you’d rather not wastefully throw it away. I’d also like to think you should have a say in how it’s spent.
Basic expenditures for operational infrastructure are one thing, but when cities want to raise the mill levy to fund special projects, this is where residents need to pay attention and speak out, especially for projects where only a select few will benefit.
When it comes to our money, every little bit counts and we need to fight for what we have.
But if you have so much money in your bank account where these little increases don’t bother you, I’d like for you share some of it with me because I, like many others, can’t afford to have these “only” amounts chipping away at what extra money I do have.
Feel free to send me your donations. I’ll only ask for a few dollars from each of you.
—Marty Augustine is a Shawnee based writer and opinion columnist. You can read more of his articles and follow him on Facebook at: Facebook.com/MartyWrites