Do you know how tax reforms will affect you?

How many times have you heard about a new reform or law that was passed and you didn’t even know it was being considered in the first place? For me, a lot.

After reading Taxpayers, You’ve Been Scammed  by Paul Krugman from the New York Times (published with permission in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), I found my lack of specific information very troubling.

Why do we find out about these reforms before it is too late to make our voices heard? Where can I find a summary of upcoming reforms? Where can I find differing opinions, so I can read all of them and come to my own conclusions? There seems to be no place where I can find good, non-biased summaries.

Really, there is not a one-stop-shop for this kind of thing. Sure, you can grab a bunch of newspapers and scour the internet, but I would like a place to go that will be easily read and have both supporters’ and opposers’ opinions presented to me.

Do we have time to read these Documents on our own?

In short, probably not.

This is why we have representatives who can do the legwork and vote for us, but sometimes we need to make sure that the person we voted into office continues to represent our interests.

However, without reading the entire document (this latest 2018 tax reform is about 600 pages long), you can’t be sure what is being implemented and how it will affect your bottom line.

Should there be a place where these documents are highlighted and where we can have open discussions about it? Yes, and it should be provided by the government.

What would a website run by the legislature look like?

  1. The site would have all potential reforms listed with brief and detailed summaries provided by multiple parties.  
  2. The actual document should be provided so that we may read it or research parts of it that people are discussing.
  3. It should be a living document that changes and is updated on the site as it is amended.
  4. There should be a place where each political party can provide limited-word opinions so that we can weigh the sides.
  5. There should be a place for discussion by the public. Experts can help check facts within the documents as well, by linking to a particular passage.
  6. In this age of digital surveys and information, having a way to submit your own opinion is essential.  The site can have a straw vote where people can give their opinions after logging in to identify themselves.
  7. We should see a list of which representatives, voted for or against that particular reform.

Eventually, trusted and knowledgeable academics can read and submit how they feel these reforms will affect lower, middle, and upper classes as well as businesses within different sectors. This could come from the community itself.

After the site is up and running, what now?

I would hope that our elected officials can read our varied opinions to help make their decision.

When our representatives are in the area listening to their constituents, there are always those who never get there voice heard

How often have you been able to meet with your representative? Wouldn’t an online option be better suited to your individual needs?

Sure, we can write to our representatives, but in this day and age, why not go digital?  It gives our representatives another snapshot of our views and opinions. Also, the site will allow for more informed decisions.

Are there potential Problems with hackers changing the site votes or spamming messages?

Sure. But there is always the potential for devious behavior in whatever way may choose to communicate with a representative.

Petitions can be manipulated, you written letters can be screened or ignored, or even a phone call could be misinterpreted when the staff member passes along the message.

This Website could be monitored and identities checked before allowing a vote. People could see how fellow opinions are forming and it gives another piece of the puzzle for our already time-pressed representatives.

What do you think?