This week in the debate among Carbon County Commissioners candidates, one thing was agreed upon by all three incumbents seeking re-elections. A tax increase is likely within the next year or two.

Municipal budgets are coming up in December. Most local towns and townships are struggling. There will likely be some tax hikes.

School budgets don't get passed until the summer, but don't be surprised if real estate taxes get raised.

And nobody knows what's going to happen with the state and federal governments regarding taxes in the next year or two.

People are paying thousands of dollars in real estate taxes. Individuals who are fortunate enough to have employment also pay thousands of dollars in income taxes. We don't have to remind you about all the other taxes we pay (gas taxes, sales taxes, occupation assessments, etc.)

How much more can people endure?

Most household incomes are finding it hard to keep pace. Unemployment rates have swelled, especially locally.

How can people keep paying the tax increases? What are our lawmakers sacrificing?

Social Security recipients will be getting an increase in January But that raise they get will be offset by increased Medicare costs that could increase by double digits.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate, fresh off a vacation, can't take up any jobs legislation until November, its leaders say, because they're going on vacation again next week!

And they wonder why people are angry. They wonder why polls show their abysmal record-low approval ratings.

There are major problems on the horizon on all levels of government.

But solutions have to begin in Washington and Harrisburg.

Lawmakers say decisions they make will be painful. So far, those lawmakers aren't sharing the pain.

The trend of higher taxes cannot keep moving on its present course or the reaction by the public will be more volatile than what we've been seeing in U.S. cities.

Emphasis has to be put on increasing jobs, curbing international spending, taking a stand against immigrants who don't come into this country legally, and reducing the size of big government.

The Senate, by taking a vacation now with so much work on its plate, is showing they are not working for the people. They're working only for themselves. And that's what is irritating Americans.

We're paying higher taxes and getting so much less in return.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com