Oh my. September arrived and it was time to begin the civics lesson I had planned for Daniel. It seemed like the best place to start talking about all this was to start with why local government is important in the first place. I sometimes wonder whether local government doesn’t get shortchanged in the learning process. Federal government feels so remote to me-- but local government-- you can literally reach out and touch it.
Plus, Daniel asked what taxes were. So, that sent us down this long and winding road. Yes, we pay tax dollars to our local government and it comprises roughly 25% of our property tax bill. But tax dollars get used for something. Roads cleared during a snowstorm? Land use and conservation? Yes. Libraries? Town and county parks? Rec programs? Yup. Go visit www.penfield.org and scroll down the left side of the page-- all that-- that’s made possible through tax dollars and the administration of government. The people we elect to represent us determine how the tax dollars are used. So simple. And so complex.
This is one of the points I wanted to make to my son when I started this whole project. Government matters, and our participation matters. And while impacting the higher levels of government can seem next to impossible (see government shutdown), local government is very near to us.
Dragging Taking Daniel to the local Democrat and Republic Committee meetings was a great way to drive this point home. Daniel was able to meet all the candidates running for office this November and understand more about them and what they stood for. He shook their hands and even had some beginning conversations with them.
And I see that my 300 words are nearly up. Darn. To be continued..