All eyes are on the Senate to work with the House tax plan passed on November 16th that promises tax relief for the middle class. However, senior citizens appear to be ignored in this congressional effort to reform taxation. What is overlooked is that senior citizens, in their so-called “golden years,” have limited retirement resources. The burden all seniors face is state and county income and property taxes. Their savings and retirement income is often used to cover unexpected medical costs, including dental and assisted living expenses. Since both the House and Senate bills do not address the special needs of seniors it then places seniors between a rock and a hard place.
To overcome the problems that seniors must cope with requires the following: Clear cut incentives for individuals during their working years to have tax relief for funding their retirement; special exceptions for state and local income and property tax; a complete write-off on all medical expenses not covered by Medicare; a further deduction for all retirement or royalty income for those that are 65 years or older; and expense deductions for all families who are providing assisted living, including the associated travel, to ensure for the well-being of their aged parents or other family members. As people tend to live longer (many into their 90’s) they still can be a part of the great American work force, which can reduce local and federal support costs. Local communities are often hard pressed to provide needed community services. Part time non-political volunteers can aid city, county and states with their lifetime experience and expertise and could be rewarded with federal tax credits for this community service. Not for profit public service organizations and churches would also benefit with a federal tax credit for volunteer assistance.
These thoughts are not part of a great socialized welfare state but it can expand the resources for educational activities. Full time teachers are underpaid. With part-time unpaid volunteer assistance, the school districts can raise salaries for teachers by involving seniors who are an active part of the community with the added benefit of being helpful to their well-being, while expanding local resources. Senior citizens are a national treasure of experience and expertise, which should be tapped. A modest tax credit for their time, in many circumstances, will spur the economy by reducing the budget of local government, which reflects in lower taxes. It is a medical fact that providing meaningful activity for seniors improves their health. An active mind engaged in the use of their wisdom is a key activity that promotes this health benefit. Involvement of seniors, many who are licensed professionals who are granted modest tax credits can reduce the community services paid staff while still meeting the needs of the community.
This involvement of seniors reduces the need for the overgrown federal government to meddle in local affairs. Seniors should be part of tax reform by encouraging their involvement to reduce the size of both local and federal government.