[Election Update: Unfortunately, the PARC Tax did pass by a vote of 3302 – 2606. Source found Here]
Anyone who lives within the jurisdiction of American Fork City, or knows anyone who does – please spread the word: Vote NO to the proposed PARC Tax.
This author, unfortunately, does not have enough time to write as detailed and thorough an argument against the proposed PARC Tax as desired – and thus, will, in this post recycle a critical post that was made against the so-called “CARE” Tax which, unfortunately, was recently renewed in Orem – which is very similar; so similar, in fact, that even American Fork City “itself” has compared the two in describing it. Although there will obviously be minor differences in terms of the wording and differing details between Orem and American Fork – the principles and argument remain the same and are equally applicable to both taxes.
First, here are few sources to consider:
– A link to a city document about the PARC Tax, see here
– A good page pertaining to the issue from AFCitizens.com, see here
So let’s get informed and get active! And I hope you will all consider the arguments found below:
First, here was my response to the Daily Herald when, as a (now former) city council candidate, I was asked:
What are your thoughts on the CARE tax?
The CARE tax interferes with the free enterprise system and is a perversion of the principle behind even having excise taxes at all. It is never legitimate for government to become the vehicle by which some benefit at the expense of other people. People, via the CARE tax, are expropriated to fund a segment of the economy they may not choose for themselves, were they ALLOWED that choice, which should actually be their own! This is wrong. In fact, 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.’
Now, it is a logical fallacy to say that just because someone doesn’t want something to be done by government, they do not want this thing to be done at all. The Arts are very important, and should be supported. But not by force and the perversion of government itself. I am sure that if this tax were being used to benefit the coffee industry instead of the arts, the people of Orem would probably be more sensitive and aware of the ironically “moral” issues behind the use of these tax dollars. Any business, vendor, or artisan of any kind should earn their business, whether via cost, donations, or any other voluntary and lawful transaction.
A city council member should “CARE” about the constitutional principles and individual freedom. That should not include any attempt to benefit any particular sector of the economy at someone else’s expense via government force.
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.