Taxes and budget, taxes and budget, taxes and budget
Two ugly words, right? In the past few days both have reared their ugly heads and made their best attempt to mar my peace.
Am I alone in this? I don’t think so.
But each can illuminate pinholes in the fabric.
We pay taxes all of the time, not just once a year (or quarterly, depending) and yet it is this once a year tax that produces the big conversation.
“I have to pay how much tax? How can that be possible?”
“Yes, you did tell me last year to do something all year so I wouldn’t owe so much tax, I guess I forgot.”
“I can’t find that document, they must have forgotten to send it to me.”
“All my papers are here in this shoe box. I keep everything in here so I’m ready for taxes.”
And the opposite player.
“Yes, I can take that vacation, thanks tax refund!”
So the tax conversation often leads to the other conversation.
“Hmm, maybe I need to budget my spending.”
Ugh, the B word. It can really mess up a light easy evening conversation. Not to mention plans for the weekend!
“I don’t think that’s in our budget right now.”
But we educators know there is another B word that can rattle our worlds. The school budget. Each spring, right around tax time, the new school budget (at least here in NJ) has to be approved, voted on, and sent to the county. There is time after that to work on the hows, whys, and wherefores, but the hard cold facts come out.
“We don’t have enough money to fund our programs.”
“We are going to have to make some hard decisions, everyone is going to feel this pain.”
“The Board is looking into outsourcing. This will allow us to close the budget gap.”
All of the above are looming in my district right now. The B word. I hate it in my home but I hate it even more in my school district. It yanks away serenity. To lose a person to budget cuts is to know powerlessness. Especially when control of the budget it out of your hands.
Just like to owe taxes is to feel that loss of control, to earn a paycheck, use it to pay bills, have a little fun, buy some stuff you want, only to discover you haven’t paid enough taxes, can certainly dampen the average joe’s spirits.
We deal with T and B time. We might not like it, but we deal with it. Like Ben Franklin may have said, “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
I’d just like to add the B word to your list as well, Mr. Franklin.