Willingness to shoulder tax burden is a sign of maturity

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 March, 2008, 12:00am

Democratic countries with mature and responsible voters like the Nordic countries and Switzerland enjoy a high standard of living and their countries' finances are always in good order.

The reason is the mature voter thinks, 'Paying tax is my duty. I am happy to pay my share of tax so that nobody in our community would be destitute, nobody would be refused medical treatment because he/she cannot afford it. I am happy to pay my share so that every child would have a chance to have a good education, and the government can afford to build good infrastructure projects and give us a clean environment.' An immature voter thinks, 'I want all of the above and I want to pay less tax.' This is one reason for the weakness of the US dollar.

Our government, although it is not democratically elected, is doing its best to listen to the people. This budget is the end result of listening to our requests. The deafening sound before the budget speech was, 'Give us back some money'. None of the political parties said to the government, 'We will educate our electorate that paying rates and taxes is their duty. Now that we have such a huge surplus, we can use it to start solving the problems we know we will face in the future with our ageing population. Don't return the money to us, use some of it to build hospitals and old age homes across the border for our old folks. Encourage them to live in the Pearl River Delta by scrapping the requirement on the minimum days of residence in Hong Kong to qualify for welfare and 'fruit money' payments. Use some of this windfall to start small class teaching in English in schools, which will improve our future generation's English proficiency.'

After the government had given everybody so many goodies in answer to the requests made by the political parties, instead of saying thank you, the parties are now screaming for the government to increase fruit money. No political party would say the obvious, for fear of alienating some voters that fruit money should be increased for those in need. It should not even be given to those not in need. Should our government keep on listening to these politicians whose only interest is to win votes from immature voters?

Alex Woo, Tsim Sha Tsui