The cost of living on Long Island is among the highest in the nation, but what are we getting for our money?
If you improve your home, your reward is higher property taxes.
On garbage day, you get to play "find the can" when your empty container is dropped a few houses down.
Your child gets a regular old seat on the school bus followed by a plastic seat in the cafeteria -- and he or she has to wait in line to buy food!
If you go to the library and the book you want is checked out, well, come back another day, buddy.
We Long Islanders pay a lot. We want more in return! It's time to rethink how Long Islander taxpayers are rewarded.
I'm talking about levels of service.
We could take our cue from sports arenas where, if you pay a lot for luxury boxes or premium seats, you're served food and drinks. You never stand in a concession line. How upper level!
You've seen this special treatment on airliners. As you exit the main cabin, you enter the curtained-off area separating the privileged from the riffraff. You trudge through business class, with its flat beds, and step through newspapers and detritus strewn across the floor. Then you hit first class, where the seats are even bigger and each one seems to be on another plane entirely.
You think, "Someday I'm going to skip a few mortgage payments and use the money to sit up here and be treated like royalty."
Restaurants, drugstores, credit card companies, they all offer perks or reduced prices to their best (highest-paying) customers. So, with these as models, here are suggestions on how we could get upgraded for our ever-increasing local taxes:
Valet parking at town hall
An HTV (high taxpaying vehicle) lane on the highway
Table service and healthful, edible food in the school cafeteria
A cushioned chair in class, and, since kids sometimes catch up on their sleep there, perhaps a recliner (a pillow would be a nice touch)
A police car dedicated to your block day and night
No waiting for books and videos at the library
Your driveway plowed after a snowstorm, and your leaves raked every fall
Sanitation guys who pack your trash in the house, bring the can to the curb and then return it to the yard after emptying, cover included (and who don't solicit a holiday tip by leaving you a postcard that includes their mailing address so it doesn't get stolen)
Wait a minute, you argue. Instead of offering perks, the system should be changed to one where everyone pays a fair amount in property taxes, instead of the disparate levies we have now for similar properties. Or maybe even think about lowering all the expenses that show up on our yearly tax bills. Good one. We may as well try to change the Earth's rotation.
"No taxation without representation" -- that rallying cry is ingrained in us from grade school. Well, maybe it's time for a new call. How about, "No taxation without premium services"?
Let the revolution begin!
Reader William A. Moran lives in Huntington Station.