Tax Day Reading

April 15, 2010 @ 4:04 pm | Filed under: Current Affairs

J.K. Rowling on paying taxes:

…the first time I ever met my recently retired accountant, he put it to me point-blank: would I organise my money around my life, or my life around my money? If the latter, it was time to relocate to Ireland, Monaco, or possibly Belize.

I chose to remain a domiciled taxpayer for a couple of reasons. The main one was that I wanted my children to grow up where I grew up, to have proper roots in a culture as old and magnificent as Britain’s; to be citizens, with everything that implies, of a real country, not free-floating ex-pats, living in the limbo of some tax haven and associating only with the children of similarly greedy tax exiles.

A second reason, however, was that I am indebted to the British welfare state; the very one that Mr Cameron would like to replace with charity handouts. When my life hit rock bottom, that safety net, threadbare though it had become under John Major’s Government, was there to break the fall. I cannot help feeling, therefore, that it would have been contemptible to scarper for the West Indies at the first sniff of a seven-figure royalty cheque. This, if you like, is my notion of patriotism.

Jo Knowles on why (taxpayer-funded) libraries are vitally important:

Now I read about budget cuts. School libraries laying off their librarians. Closing the library doors altogether. City libraries shutting down. Library systems disappearing. New York. New Jersey. California. Pennsylvania. No more free books for people desperate to put a picture book in their child’s hand. No more computer access to the kids who don’t have them at home. No more wireless for the people who’ve lost their jobs and need a place to hook up to job search. No more free access to newspapers for the people who don’t have TV and can’t afford the paper. But want to know what’s happening in the world, in their state, in their town. Who want to make informed voting decisions. Who want to understand what’s going on.

Libraries aren’t just about book lending. They are the heart of most communities. They are the one place in any community that you can go all year, rain or shine, rich or penniless. They are the one place in communities that provide fair and equal access. They don’t discriminate. They don’t judge. They give over and over and over.

And now is when they are needed most desperately. Now is when they provide the most valuable services. Now is when, even if a state or county is so far in the red they feel they’ll never get out, now is when libraries should be getting the green light to extend their hours, not have them taken away. Without libraries, the economic divide in our communities grows even wider. Please. If the library in your community is in danger, speak up. If you can help any library that’s in trouble, please do it. This is about kids, babies, new moms and dads, unemployed parents, a lonely retired person who needs weekly or daily interaction and reading material to get them through the week. It’s about keeping communities intact. Your community. My community. It matters.

We celebrated tax day today with a trip to the public library. I’d say more, but I have a date to read Inside Outside Upside Down with a certain little boy.


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Comments

10 Responses | | Comments Feed

  1. Amen! 🙂

  2. Love the quotes! Here in Canada, our Tax Freedom Day isn’t until *JUNE*. Though (to be fair) I think our taxes fund a lot of things that you have to pay out of pocket.

  3. Yes!

  4. Love the Rowling quote.

    I celebrated tax day by reading about a certain twelve year old’s first-ever trip to her town’s brand new public library, where she asked for the CLASSICS and won a librarian’s heart.

    The title of that book was, of course, …? 😉

  5. Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Mister Kotter! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, of course. Dear Miss Sparrow!!

    I love the way Betsy says goodbye to all her friends and family before she sets off. It’s such a huge occasion.

    Love it!

  6. Very nice quotes, Lissa! We should have celebrated Tax Day by going to a National Park or to the Smithsonian. We did celebrate it by drinking clean water and flushing our toilets and getting our garbage picked up. Thank you, Public Works! I’m thankful we didn’t celebrate it by calling 911.

  7. Went the Corps of Engineer Illinois Waterway Locks and Dam at La Salle, IL. Watched bald eagles and barges.Sad about the libraries, though. Shame there aren’t other less important things to cut back on.

  8. Exactly right, of course.

    I actually just wrote a little post about my enjoyment of that particular book. It’s here. http://dillerhome.blogspot.com/2010/04/fridays-finest.html

    Can’t wait to revisit the older Betsy books as well!

  9. Love them both. Wonderful.

  10. Hi Melissa

    As I am an ex corporate librarian I totally agree with you re public libraries and their value. I am Australian and some of the local councils underfund their public libraries here. However I have read that the situation about tax cuts have meant th closures of some of the US public libraries. I always think of that Sonny and Cher song, You only know what you have got until it is gone in regards to library closures.