April 16, 2008
Let's make tax day Election Day
April 16 should replace the November timeframe, when possible. If the first voting day after April 15 must occur on the following Monday, then so be it. The "window of acute awareness" regarding government's costs and benefits should be kept closely linked to tax day. Being aware of just how much money it costs to "keep the system" going can be a powerful motivator - encouraging accountability and effective communication - at all levels of our government.
To make the point, using a Clint Eastwood movie title, each of us deserves to know "the good, the bad and the ugly." So that we don't write-off the up-side of government services, knowing the good can be a powerful source of reassurance for individuals who might take for granted what is provided. Some of the good, in terms of education and social services - if better understood - build public support regarding the positive value and constructive impact provided by hard-earned tax payments.
But, back to April as the right time for holding elections:
- Mid-April is a reminder of just how much government costs each individual.
- Common sense ties public service costs with individuals and community benefits.
- When one can see and feel the benefits, then public servants' positions are secure.
- Disconnects between promises made and services delivered will be a red flag.
- Who would willingly re-elect the same folks who cost a lot and deliver very little?
- Energy and housing costs, improperly addressed, could bankrupt our nation.
- Recession is more than a mind-set for those without jobs of prospects for income.
- Who is accountable for the policies that address job training and economic stimulus?
- Is there a better time to crystallize public service accountability to each and every citizen - who works to support the essentials of government - than when payments are made?
So, why not ask your local elected officials to consider establishing mid-April as election time? Those who know what needs to be done, and are working diligently to deliver on promises, will have little reluctance to the change. It is pretty clear, at least from the media coverage, that most folks in public service are doing their jobs, listening to constituents and following through. Even so, keeping the spotlight on prudent investments and cost containment is a daily activity for taxpayers. So, why not plant the same discipline throughout the economic system that underpins our government?
Transparency is when we can see the operations of organizations along with the individuals working in them, top to bottom, and know that integrity and accountability is a core operational principle.