It's not higher taxes, it's what you get for your taxes

Opinion

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As a former trustee of the Oak Park library board, I read Byron Lanning's recent letter with great interest [OP pol votes against higher taxes. Miracle? Viewpoints, Nov. 23]. It seems Mr. Lanning has joined the mantra of "all taxes are bad/oppressive/whatever."

What he doesn't answer is the question: Where are the cuts at the library to be made? Are hours of operation (and staff work hours) to be cut? Are positions from the excellent staff to be eliminated? Is the benefit package of retirement/sick time/vacation for the staff to be reduced? Are widely respected and well attended programs to be eliminated? Is the renovation of Maze Branch to be abandoned? Shall the library's collection remain stagnant rather than expand?

I suppose Mr. Lanning's real complaint may be that taxes are "wasted." This comes from the all too prevalent notion that governmental services are somehow free. We as taxpayers have the right to expect our tax dollars will be used wisely and to our benefit. I don't think there's much doubt that has been and still is being done at the library. However, in a broader sense, Oak Parkers do get a good "bang for the buck" with public services.

That doesn't mean we can slumber or trust without questioning the use of tax dollars at the local, state or national level. As taxpayers?#34;and, more importantly, voters?#34;we must always be concerned and vigilant when our tax dollars are used for the benefit of a privileged few or insider cronies. That problem can be fixed each and every election day.

Steven J Fruth
Oak Park

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