It’s almost an American ritual to complain about taxes as we rush to the post office to file before the deadline. That old saw about “death and taxes” will be repeated ad infinitum.

But not me. This year, I’ll be skipping down the street, singing merrily about the joy of investing in our communities.

Why? Partly because I had the privilege to travel this year, and while walking a dusty road in a far away country, I had occasion to contemplate how much I missed sidewalks, and how easy it is to take the basic infrastructure we enjoy (like sidewalks!) for granted.

An Investment in the Common Good

But more than that, I believe that those of us who work every day for the common good have a special responsibility to help others understand the value of the common resources and common assets we all share.  We all pay taxes and we all use public structures paid for, maintained or protected by taxes. Libraries, clean air, schools, parks and yes, sidewalks are all brought to you courtesy of taxes.

Taxes aren’t something to complain about – they’re a reflection of our values, and an investment in our communities.  So if you care about the commons, I urge you to SHARE about the commons.

Changing the Conversation

Along with the rest of my LightBox Collaborative colleagues, I am pleased to support the work of these important organizations as they advance the conversation on the worth of our investments in the commons:

  • Demos is partnering with the American Prospect on a six-part series demonstrating why taxes matter.  Rich with infographics, the stories show how taxes pay for the things that underpin our public life and connect us to one another through our communities, our states and our country.
  • Our colleagues at CompassPoint have teamed up with Kim Klein and the Building Movement Project to create Nonprofits Talking Taxes. Fun videos, webinars and workshops engage the nonprofit sector in conversation on how taxes mirror community values, and actions nonprofit leaders can take to ensure that taxes reflect an investment in the common good.

What are you glad to be investing in this Tax Day?

(Image courtesy flickr user

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Holly Minch is LightBox Collaborative’s chief engineer and founder and wishes you “Happy Tax Day.”