Why I cannot support the JEDZ tax in Springfield Township

JEDZI live and work in Springfield Township. I do business whenever I can in the township, and I support the causes that promote the well being of our community. We have a wonderful place to live- it’s not perfect, but a great place that we have called home. This is why I have been able to justify the high property taxes in the township. I feel safe here, I think that most people are happy, and I feel as if the community in which I live is a fairly stable place.

In the past, I have voted both for and against various levies. In some cases, I voted for levies that directly met a need, such as the levy to support services for the mentally disabled. I’m not completely against reasonable, common sense approaches that allow for an efficient government.

I am also concerned about basic, fundamental rights of the individual. I believe in our US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe that the government which governs least governs best, that the best functions for government is to defend its citizens, protect the rights of the individuals, and allow the people opportunities without government interference. As a Christian and a pastor, these rights directly align with my own life mission to serve Christ, love people, and speak the truth in love.

The township is facing budget struggles. In the desire to fund its budget, the trustees have now proposed a new tax on all employees and businesses who worked within the township. If it passes, all employees will pay this tax and all businesses will need to file forms on a monthly basis to a regional taxing authority. At the end of the year, according to the township, employees and business owners who do live in the township can then file a form and receive a grant for the amount withheld, thus getting a refund. Therefore, as a resident, I am not likely to pay an extra tax with the annual refund.

However, there are problems with this proposal, called Issue 13. Let me explain why as a citizen, I cannot support this new tax:

  • This tax is a burden on all employees, residents or not. Contrary to what the township has claimed, this tax will affect everyone who work in the township. Everyone will have taxes withheld from their pay, and residents would be able to receive their refund after filling out a form. The form will require the resident’s W2 and Social Security number. The form will require proof of residency. The form will have a deadline in which to file. No doubt, there are security and privacy concerns.
  • This tax is a burden on all businesses. Businesses with employees currently fill out quarterly 941 tax forms with the IRS. With the JEDZ tax, they are forced to fill out monthly forms. Employee withholding will need to be withheld and tracked. Last, business owners would also be forced to fill out a form for the refund of their tax on net profit before the end of the first quarter of the following year. This is a paperwork nightmare, especially since some businesses are not likely to be ready for this filing in time (many file for federal automatic extensions).
  • This tax is a burden on the working poor. This is perhaps my biggest issue. Many of the employees that the township wants to make its money on are the hourly wage earners. These are employees who often make the least amount of money. Some of these employees are students, single parents, or newly married. They are at the worst places in their lives to afford a reduction on their wages. These employees are already struggling to earn a living, trying to feed their families and hoping to get breaks to better their lives. Taxing them would cause harm to those who can afford it the least.

These are just some of the reasons why I am against this tax- I do have concerns about the race to beat the passage of HB 289. I don’t claim to have all of the solutions, but I don’t believe that this is a good one. It burdens businesses, it burdens residents, and it without a doubt will harm the working poor. Let’s not do this- instead, let’s put our energies toward finding less burdensome, more equitable solutions for Springfield Township.  Issue 13 is a bad idea and should be defeated. 

Please note: my opinions here are not meant to be construed as representative of the church I pastor. My opinions are my own.

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