A Tax For Everyone; Daddy’s Girls

Jerry Coffee
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Wednesday - March 08, 2006
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Most parents would probably agree there are two specific milestones in the lives of their young adult children when they really begin to pay attention: when they start having their own children, and when they start paying income taxes.

As new parents, your kids may suddenly begin agreeing with you about the need for TV program ratings that protect children, about more strict laws on child molestation, or about the need for better public schools - none of which may have even been on their radar before they became a mom or a dad.

Payroll tax withholding tends to obscure the fact that Junior Boy is even paying income taxes, but wait until the first time the withholding doesn’t cover the tax and it has to come “out of pocket” and the screaming begins: “Holy Tamoly! This tax rate is too high!” “Darn politicians wasting my tax money anyhow!” or “Hey, darn kid, no graffiti that wall! Who you think gonna pay fo clean um? Me!” Amazing how much more aware our kids become when they starts paying taxes.

In Hawaii today, a two-parent family of four pays no state income tax if their income is less than $11,500, the fourth lowest (harshest) in the nation. According to recent articles in the Honolulu dailies, some people think that income level should be raised so fewer poor people would have to pay taxes.

Arguments about how “poor” is determined aside, I happen to believe just the opposite: Everyone should pay income tax! It could be 1 percent, it could be $1, the amount is negotiable. The point is, everyone should pay something. Everyone should go through the hassle of filing that Form 1040 each year so they will feel connected to that amorphous entity called “government” that provides the police and fire protection for their security, fills the potholes in their streets, will try to provide shelter should they become homeless, paint over the graffiti in their neighborhood, and provide some order and dependability to their world. Taxpayers bond with other taxpayers - in griping, if nothing else - thereby promoting a sense of common cause.

We do a disservice to those from whom we require no taxes. We withhold their “stock” in society. We promote their apathy and disconnectedness. We disenfranchise them.

The solution would be so easy.

three star

I’d bet most dads would agree that while generally they may have more common interests with their sons, the father-daughter bond is very special. In many cultures, to have a daughter as the first born is considered lucky, and such was my own luck.

When I left for my “sea duty tour” to Vietnam, my daughter was just a skinny-legged first-grader, but when I returned - as it turned out - she was a blossoming freshman in high school. Although I missed some very important years of her life we’ve tried to make up for that, and we remain very close.

Happily, our local Armed Forces YMCA recognizes that sweet bond between fathers and daughters and the strain that wartime separation can bring. That’s why its seventh annual Father-Daughter Dinner Dance will be held April 1 at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii (Kaneohe) Officers Club from 5:30 to 9 p.m.

It’s a dress-up ball where pre-teen-and-up Cinderellas will enter on their fathers’ arms for an evening of haute cuisine, roses, balloons and DJ dancing. Many a dad will be facing imminent departure to the Middle East, but for others the evening will be a part of their home-coming celebration, in either case making the event that much more memorable. An on-site photographer will make sure.

If you know a military dad and daughter who deserve such a special evening together, please let them know.

For reservations, call Terri Nelson at 254-4719. Or call Terri to donate in support of the event. From one dad who knows, what a great way to truly “support our troops.”

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