Do without?

I grew up, and currently live in New York State. It has one of the higher tax burdens in the country, and yes, everyone complains about it. Some years ago, I ran a business in one of the “conservative” states out west. Taxes, to most of the residents in the area were an anathema, and there had been passed several initiatives relating to taxes, and getting a tax increase of any sort passed was next to impossible. Good for my business? Not particularly.

I lived about 20 miles from where my business was, and the business (computer services) took me on the road a lot.   That was when I found out just what those “low taxes” meant.  My first experience was when a winter storm came through, and dropped about 6″ of snow overnight.  Not a problem, I thought, the roads should be plowed soon.  Time passed, and no plows.  More time, still no plows.  Finally, an hour after my business was supposed to be open, I decided that I needed to try to get in.  The normal half-hour drive took almost an hour, and that was only because the road had melted off the last 5 miles.  My partner twitted me about my tardiness – “I thought you  said you grew up in Adirondacks, and were used to driving in winter!”  My response?  “Yes, but in New York we have things called plowing, salting and sanding.  Apparently this state hasn’t heard of them.”

That was just the first time.  I learned to hate winter out there.  Understand, I lived on a major highway, and my business was inside a small city.  Ordering parts and supplies in winter meant hoping for the roads to be clear enough for shipping services to get through.  Making service calls was frequently difficult,  as roads were frequently treacherous or even unplowed.   The headaches in delays, lost business, and irate customers it created were pretty large.   But my taxes were low.

Now I’m back in New York.  Yes, my taxes are higher than they were out west, and yes, I do my share of griping about them.   But whenever I hear people from those areas bragging about their low taxes, I now have a response for them.  Yes, you have low taxes and I don’t.  But you know what?   The roads here are plowed in winter.   I’d rather have that.


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