The “Cultural Art and Recreation Enrichment” Tax is up for renewal and is on the November Ballot. Otherwise known as the CARE Tax, it is a 1/10 of 1% local sales tax that was approved by a majority of voters back in November 2005. This tax money is allocated by city council vote in the form of CARE Tax grants. Two of the typical major receivers of this money are the SCERA Center for the Arts and the Hale Centre Theatre.
Proponents have typically sold it as furthering the cause of “culture” and even the enrichment of “quality of life.” Others call it for what it is, and that is a bailout with tax dollars. In other words, a government forced transfer of wealth that is not earned by voluntary customers giving of their own money, but by lobbying bureaucrats who have control of the government power to forcibly tax those who shop in the area.
This is not about the arts. Regardless of who this money went to, a society, in order to truly maintain justice, must always analyze the means for an attainment of any end. It is not so much about who the money goes to, as much as the means by which it is taxed and then allocated. This issue is actually about the proper role of government and the principles behind a true Republic. Even this proposal is a symptom of apostasy that attacks the very heart of what it means to live in a free society.
It also needs to be pointed out that there is often a logical fallacy made in response to this position of not being “willing to support the arts” (to say nothing of the irony of accusing those with this position as lacking charity when it comes to other people’s money which is forcibly expropriated). In the words of Frederic Bastiat, “[s]ocialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all…It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”
For those who defend this Tax purely based on the fact that it was voter approved are grasping desperately to a point that should be moot in a true Republic, as opposed to a “mobocracy“, or democracy. A true Republic holds the individual as the ultimate sovereign and his/her rights as non-negotiable, with Natural Law as the “Ruler”. A democracy would hold those rights as expendable depending on the will of a majority of the voting electorate and, thus, see the Rule of Man as superior to the Rule of Law. Ironically, this is often done in the name of supposed “law,” which is truly mere statute which has the State force of “law” imposed upon the people of society in a manner repugnant to Natural Law.
Truth be told, nothing inhibits those who support such a tax to voluntarily donate all they can/want of their own resources to these programs. Every person who is inclined to vote for this renewal are more than welcome to do this. In fact, such actions would/should be seen as perhaps even noble and charitable. But that being said, why should such a position become perverted to somehow view forcing and coercing others to do the same thing be likewise seen as “noble”?
If this action were done outside of government, would not people call this action robbery? And if so, how could that action be any more moral if done clothed in the robes of legality?
For those who claim that supposed insignificance or emphasize the small size of the tax itself forget a very poignant axiom: In principle, there is no such thing as a small violation of property/stewardship. Is the act of robbery any less immoral if the amount is relatively small compared to other criminal acts of coercion? Is the principle any different if the amount robbed is a penny?
Government should be based on the truth that all men have unalienable rights such as life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness – and that government’s sole legitimate role is to help protect these. Therefore, government should always be instituted and provided on the standard of helping to provide for the general welfare of all. Not the particular welfare for some – regardless of the interests, hobbies, and even artistic and athletic abilities, or desire to appreciate the same, of any particular faction. Government should never become the tool by which some, even if that be the majority of people, “benefit” at the expense of other people. Once this occurs, government becomes a tool of the very form of activity it was originally implemented to help prevent (i.e. criminal behavior).
If any service is provided, the cost of that service should be based on the fee or charge of the use of that service, or other voluntary means. No rational person should expect to use a service paid for by another person via force, even government taxation. Measures such as the CARE tax, which is approximated to be around 1.7 million of your dollars, shifts the market in a way that is not naturally brought about by people voluntarily interacting in the economy. In other words, people, via the CARE tax, are taxed to fund a segment of the economy they may not choose for themselves, were they allowed that choice, which should actually be their own!
It has been said that ‘there is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.’ Remember, if a person, as an individual wants to support the arts, then they should go do so. But they are not justified in coercing others, who may not be so inclined, to do so anyway via the medium of government force. People can always use a service for a cost, or even donate money to whatever cause they like – but the violation of rights should be seen for what it truly is: coercion, criminality and rebellion against Natural Law.
True free market competition is what naturally brings about the environment in which innovation, prosperity, higher quality of life and high quality products/services are had and more widely available to the people. Governments and bureaus shifting wealth to segments of the economy that they feel is appropriate for you has never and will never be an adequate replacement to a societal structure based on the principles of freedom. In fact, this unjust distortion by the State/city only inhibits competition and distorts the market.
We, the People, claim in our Utah Constitution that “the policy of the State of Utah” is “that a free market system shall govern trade and commerce in this state.” A vote against the CARE tax is an affirmation in the belief and trust in the principles of freedom and free markets, and a renewal of that wise section of the governing document of the state of Utah. This is the standard for progress, and is the standard that the people of Orem deserve.
Please vote against the CARE tax. And please inform others to do the same. This is a great opportunity to get people thinking about the Proper Role of Government. Lets capitalize on that and share a message as well as recommending this action. Let’s attempt to resist the State becoming the legal fiction by which everyone attempts to live at the expense of everybody else.
For those who are interested, here is the wording of the official voter information pamphlet message promoting the rejection of the renewal of the CARE tax. This was written by Hans Andersen (sitting city council member who is currently the only one who cares for fiscal sanity), as well as Wayne Burr and Sharon Price Anderson (both of whom will be on the ballot in November as well, and whom I endorse for Orem City Council).
“Why should you vote against the CARE tax? Because it is not the government’s job to entertain you. The arts, entertainment, and recreation should be supported by participants and voluntary donations.
How would the tax be imposed? It is a sales tax on things you purchase, including phone, car, clothing, and utility bills. If the tax passes, then every time you are charged sales tax, a portion of that tax will be taken for CARE.
Who decides? If we have a typical turnout for city election November 5th, 2013, about 9,000 will vote. If just over half of those voters support the tax then about 4,500 people (approximately 5% ) will decide that ALL 90,000 residents will pay for arts and recreation for the next 10 years.
Are Special Interest Groups involved? Yes. It is planned that one of the recipients of CARE tax funds will be a building that has been called the Center for Story. Those who want this Center have given pro CARE tax candidates over $5,000. Why? Those sponsors want your tax dollars, not just their private dollars, to pay for the building. If the tax passes, then YOU, not private contributors, will finish paying for the building and maintenance costs in perpetuity.
Who pays for arts, recreation and entertainment in Orem City? You do. You give your money to private enterprises, church’s, and non-profits and other groups who invite you to spend your time and money with them. You choose, but special interest groups are not satisfied with your choices. If the tax passes, the decision of how you pay for entertainment and who gets the money will be made by others.
How much is the CARE tax? It’s about $1.7 million a year. It’s a sales tax so it varies year to year. With an estimated 27,000 households in Orem the tax averages out to $63 per household per year. Because the proposed tax is for 10 years, that amounts to $630 household over 10 years.
Who can best spend $630 of your money? Six members of the City Council (not Hans Andersen) and special interest groups want that $63 per household per year taken from you in taxes. They believe they can spend your money better than you can. We who vote against the tax believe you can make these choices for your family better than the Orem City Council.
Is the CARE Tax a “just cause?” While arts and entertainment are valuable and do benefit our community, it is not right to forcibly take from citizens the money to fund them. The end does not justify the means. We urge you to financially support groups by voluntary patronizing and contributing to the ones you are pleased with. Entertainment and recreation are good but they should not be supported by forced charity (taxation).
Would you force your neighbor to pay your food bill? Then don’t vote to force him to pay your entertainment bill.“