There are two things we can count on in this world: death and taxes, and while death still appears to be an absolute, Garfield County property taxes are somewhat negotiable until June 8. The thing is, the county reassessed property values at the height of the roller coaster that is the housing market (especially in our little kingdom), and while the price of homes may come back down, we all know the taxes won’t.
I wonder about the origin of tax collection… Was it a group decision made while sitting around the campfire one night, or some old king hanging out in his drafty castle, thinking, “Boy, this place could really use some improvements. I should head down to the hardware marketplace and pick up a few things, but how will I pay for it…?”
What’s amazing to me: to this day we pay. We are all born on this planet, and one could argue that provides the right to water and shelter, but the trick is in the random lot to which we were born.
If we stick to the facts, over 4 billion years ago, our little planet was formed. It happened. Get over it. And now, life on Earth — as we perceive it — has transpired due to a long progression of small, not necessarily coordinated, everyday triumphs: amino acids in meteors, the end of The Age of Fishes, H2O, penicillin, coffee, etc.
Humans are a wonderfully creative and productive species, although we do have the tendency to be conceited and gullible — two traits that do not complement each other very well, or at all actually. Also, if you’re not into bureaucratic processes, this probably isn’t your favorite planet. Everything we do is by trial and error, and sometimes we must do it over and over again before we even understand that there was an error.
As far as tax (money) is concerned, we’ve set up a system that’s rigged to flip. This is a rafting term that means all our stuff is securely tied down on the boat, so that if it flips over in the river, we won’t have to watch all the food and beer turn to flotsam — or jetsam. (River rats are a wonderfully helpful, loyal tribe, but if they find your beer downriver, they probably won’t go out of their way to get it back to you. After all, all is fair in love and rapids.)
Ever since the put-in, it would seem we have had the haves and the have nots, i.e. those who can afford straps to tie their gear down, and those who cannot. If we take an alien’s-eye view, I worry that human intentions and actions may seem terribly archaic and primitive (but that’s probably just because we are.)
I mean, humans are very excited and busy with each new day; some of us drive around in our gas-guzzling SUVs and have meetings with each other to discuss how to get more money, and some of us get up early every day and spend our time acquiring food and water and shelter. What may surprise the aliens is that the ones who spend their lives working for food and shelter to share with their family are considered the world’s poorest inhabitants and the ones who have to sit through mind-and-ass-numbing meetings while someone else brings up their children are considered the wealthy. Crazy!
In general, I am a rule-follower, and I can usually follow my heart through life without coloring too far outside the societal lines. But when the lines are arbitrarily drawn by a bored king-child and they conflict with common sense and the common man, then I have to say something.
Just like free piles and vehicles put out to pasture signal the absence of an HOA, tax hikes are a sure sign of gentrification, and they go hand-in-hand with expensive hardware stores and empty lawns. A significant increase in property tax will flip a quirky neighborhood faster than you can yell, “Highside!” That’s why I am encouraging my neighbors to appeal the county assessor’s evaluation and, while they’re at it, park an old boat out in front of the house.