Children and Taxes

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On children and taxes

            Some months ago I wrote in this space of the many ways in which Unicoi County’s children are dependent on the state government for various necessary services.  Here are details on a few of those ways.

·        Of every four children in Unicoi County, one (27.7%) lives in a family that depends on food stamps to meet its dietary needs.

·        Of every four children in Unicoi County, two (44.3%) are eligible for free or reduced price school lunches.

·        Of every four children in Unicoi County, two (45.2%) are enrolled in the Tenncare program.

·        Of every three children born in Unicoi County, only two (69.1%) received adequate pre-natal care.

·        Of every eight children born in Unicoi County, one (13.2%) is born to a teen-aged mother.

         

            In all but the last of these categories, Unicoi County doesn’t differ markedly from state wide averages.  In the last one the state wide average is 33.8%, so we’re well below that figure.  The point of this piece is not to single Unicoi County out as different, but to remind us just what it is that our tax dollars do.  Much state spending is apparent to its citizens: roads, new buildings, state police protection, and so forth.  But what the figures above makes clear is just how invisible a great deal of state spending really is.  I believe it is well for us, now and then, to quit bellyaching about taxes and consider what that money really goes for.  In the case of the programs listed above, it goes to feed and care for those of our children whose parents are unable to provide what their children deserve.

The figures quoted above are taken from documents published by the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth.  February, 2008.  <www.tennessee.gov/tccy>

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