Pay It Forward for Tax Day

Wed, 2013-04-10 15:44

I was recently invited to a small church in Detroit by a close friend. The church had no more than a hundred members and sat on an inconspicuous corner of a not-so-busy neighborhood street. The experience was basically what I had expected—prayer, lively worship songs and a nice message, but what struck me most was the process of collecting tithes and church offerings. Just seconds after the pastor made the announcement, the entire church erupted with hand claps, music and celebration.

I asked my friend ‘why such an outpouring of enthusiasm for the act of giving ten percent (more or less, depending on your ability or, perhaps level of generosity) of your income to an institution?’ She explained her belief that tithing pays for the space they occupy, feeds local families in need and meets the basic needs of children and families within and outside of the congregation. The congregation holds it as not only a right, but also an honor to invest in something that each member and so many others benefit from on Sundays and more. “So why wouldn’t I celebrate it?” she says.

After her ‘clear as day’ explanation, I immediately began thinking about taxes. Not tax relief or tax burdens, but the fact that I have the privilege of enjoying so many public structures and services—from drinking clean water and enjoying local parks to having attended a public university and walking to one of the most beautiful public institutions of art and culture on a regular basis. Why wouldn’t I celebrate?!

After her ‘clear as day’ explanation, I immediately began thinking about taxes. Not tax relief or tax burdens, but the fact that I have the privilege of enjoying so many public structures and services—from drinking clean water and enjoying local parks to having attended a public university and walking to one of the most beautiful public institutions of art and culture on a regular basis. Why wouldn’t I celebrate?!

It’s nearly impossible to support the things that tax dollars provide—like providing supportive services for the elderly and vulnerable, ensuring clean parks, beaches and drinking water, supporting public education, etc.—without acknowledging the value and benefit of taxes.

If the government is anything like the lively little church on the corner–using my (and your) contribution to promote the public interest and increase economic opportunity–then on tax day I’m going to celebrate and pay it forward!

As we approach tax day, I’ve got to ask, what tax-supported services or structures in your community are you willing to celebrate? The social media campaign, Pay It Forward Michigan, reminds people about the good things their tax dollars create, support or protect and invites you to share with photos, videos or a few words about what you love in your community that your tax dollars support—school, playground, neighborhood police officer, or even a glass of clear water!

Tell us your story @ www.facebook.com/payitforwardmichigan or use #payitforwardmi on Twitter.com!

Here are a few examples!