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Editorial: Taxes Are Us

Last week the Nassau District Attorney made several arrests for tax evasion, with the defendants collectively owing almost $1 million. One alleged scammer seems to be a lotto junkie who doesn’t declare his winnings. Three others are charged with not reporting business income.   

This week, in Oyster Bay, you can’t avoid thinking about taxes. As we scramble to get the paperwork together and file on time (even if only for an extension) we see exactly how much we’ve paid, and sometimes we still have to send a check—to Washington or Albany. Nobody likes paying taxes. Nobody really likes paying for anything; if we could get it for free, we would happily do so.

But nothing’s really free, and civilized society, especially, comes at a price. Taxes maintain parks, repair roads, take garbage away and keep the courts running. They fund teachers in the OB-EN schools, police in the second precinct and the village police department in Oyster Bay Cove, judges on the bench, lifeguards at  Centre Island, Ransom and TOBAY beaches—in short, they fund essential services. Most countries with low taxes are not places we’d want to live.

Those who cheat on their taxes are only cheating their fellow citizens. So, pay up and smile, even though it might hurt. Think of it as buying your family the gift of a strong civic community. After all, ‘by the people, for the people’ means government is us.