Green River Star -

Our View: Taxes are necessary for Green River

 


Last week, we wrote about the importance of taxing online purchases in order to shore up waning sales tax revenue in Sweetwater County. Unknown to us at the time, the state was in discussions with Amazon.com and announced a deal to collect sales tax from the online commerce giant the day after we printed our last “Our View” editorial. Amazon plans to start charging Wyoming residents a sales tax March 1.

We were happy to seal the deal solidify between the state and Amazon.com, but we also noticed a lot of people weren’t particularly happy with the situation. A number of people were upset they had to pay a little more, questioning why the cities couldn’t learn to live within their means and cut “the fat” or that Amazon.com shouldn’t charge a sales tax for Wyoming purchases because it means the cost of their goods will increase.

Taxes are a necessity. We won’t argue the idea of some taxes not being a good idea, but taxes are a necessity towards providing residents with the services they expect from a city. As our readers probably noticed on the front page this week, residential usage of the Green River Recreation Center has gone up since the beginning of the year due to the awful weather making an outdoor workout an unpleasant experience.

The center, while it charges fees for usage and memberships, is maintained and funded through money the city receives from sales tax revenue.

Both cities in Sweetwater County have been forced to cut back expenditures during the past few years. A few examples in Green River include the Parks and Recreation Department cutting back the number of seasonal positions it hires, as well as changes to the Crystal Classic through cutting the ice carving competition from the weekend event. This has occurred in other departments as well, with open positions being cut and some programs being discontinued. The city has run out of fat to cut in its budget.

While it’s easy to claim sales tax funds nothing but government bloat, but there’s more to it than that. Those sales taxes fund police and fire protection, maintenance on our local parks and city buildings, as well as a host of other uses. Without those taxes, we could see invaluable city services hindered as cities decide what services should be cut back.

At some point, municipal budgets may demand more than just “fat” to be cut and both cities have trimmed where they can.

Sales tax from online purchases may help avoid cities cutting into their working muscles.

 

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