I am a tax collector and…sinner?

I am an elected representative of the government. Honest.

Some of you know the dirty truth.  I’m not as innocent as you think.  Oh no.  Not at all.  Don’t be fooled by all this bloggin’ tomfoolery.

I am really a politician.  A representative of local government.  A–yes, here goes–tax collector.  A township treasurer.

And it’s time to collect your money.  Again.

Spreading those taxes all over the kitchen table. Don't tip over the salt or pepper, please.

Oh my, I’ve been a township treasurer more than a quarter century.  A quarter century, can you imagine?  ‘Way back in 1984 I ran for office for the first time.  The only time with opposition. 

I was a young whipper-snapper who only wanted a way to make a living in one of the tiniest townships (smack dab in the middle of the Upper Peninsula woods) and my primary skill was journalism.  Since The Husband had the only journalism job in the county, I looked elsewhere. 

Elsewhere turned out to be with numbers.  I discovered a great love for adding numbers, subtracting numbers, turning numbers upside down and shaking them (to see if there were more numbers hidden inside) and budgeting.  How I loved budgeting!  It ’twas like a giant jigsaw puzzle.  The puzzle = A.  The expenses = B, C and D.  The revenue = F.  And you had to make all the letters come together in a pleasing alphabetical soup that would satisfy the township constituents.

I am still enjoying playing with numbers all these years later. I have two part-time jobs (1) as the aforementioned township treasurer, which involves bi-annual tax collecting along with other responsibilities and (2) as the business manager of our tiny elementary school. 

This here blog is the only place where my journalistic urges get to run wild away from the leashes of numbers.  (That’s why I’m in love with blogging, you know.)

1,517 summer property tax parcels. You property owners can expect your bills by the weekend.

Where was I?

Ahh, yes, trying to explain why I am a tax collector and sinner.

It started this way.

Years ago people would ask what I did.  The smart-mouthed part of me sometimes took control and explained,  “Oh, I am a tax collector and sinner!”  You know Jesus, don’t you?  He’s the one who lumped the tax collectors in with the sinners.  Like tax collectors are the worst of the worst.  (OK, maybe they were in biblical times.  Maybe some even are today.  But I send positive wishes and sometimes prayers out along with the taxes–honest!  Bless these taxpayers, make they be able to afford their homes and, may they be fully blessed…Amen.)

It’s always funny telling an anti-tax or anti-government person about my job, especially if they don’t know about this for years of our acquaintance.  I remember one friend–a spiritual guy who hated the government and tax collectors.  I listened sympathetically and finally shared the Awful Truth.  “Umm, Paul,” I said, “Guess what?  I’m a tax collector.”

He was silent for maybe two minutes.  He finally gasped, “Wha….?”  “Yes,” I said, ” I collect property taxes for our small township.  And I sometimes pray for the tax payers.”  He remained silent for another two minutes. 

“I guess you’ve taught me not to label people,” he finally said. 

Envelopes everywhere...

As for that being-a-sinner part:  the Christians always nodded their heads understandably and said, “Of course you’re a sinner!” meaning that, of course, we’re all sinners.  The non-Christians always shook their heads vigorously and said, “Of COURSE you’re NOT a sinner!”

I have no idea about the reliability of this Internet source, but here is a discussion about the phrase “Tax Collectors and Sinners”.  Just so you can ponder what Jesus meant when he used that particular phrase.

Anyway, sinner or no, I hope all of you will think kindly of your tax collector or township treasurer when she or he sends you a property tax bill in the next few days.  Don’t think of her as an evil money-grubbing government person wanting to suck you dry of all your life-long funds.

Those same treasurers are paying property taxes themselves.  They’re just doing their jobs.  Maybe they are sending you good will and prayers and blessings along with your bill.  Maybe, just maybe, things aren’t always what they seem…

P.S.  And guess what!  I have NEVER been yelled at by a taxpayer yet.  For some reason the taxpayers seem to intuit that it’s not personal with me.  I don’t set the rates or have anything to do with the amount billed–that’s the assessor’s job.  The delinquent taxes go to the county–I don’t even have to collect them.  It really is a good job for a sinner to have.  LOL!  Just kidding!  Sort of!

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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27 Responses to I am a tax collector and…sinner?

  1. Elisa's Spot says:

    Hi~~~

    I looked high and low for……..
    ok only for about five minutes
    and I could not locate a tax collector/sinner button for you to wear
    this is how i feel and probably look when i am pouting

  2. milkayphoto says:

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! YOU are a hilarious writer! I’ve never thought about our tax collector as a sinner. Probably because, I was raised Catholic and alas, we are reminded that we are sinners on a regular basis. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Dear milkayphoto, you have made my night. You have tickled my hilarious writer funny bone! So I’m not the only one that’s a sinner, right? Phew, we can be sinners together…

  3. Oh my gosh, what a fun read this late afternoon as I’m cooling my jets! Not only did it make me laugh (which it did), it made me realize that I don’t even have a clue who our tax collector is! It’s simply never crossed my mind. But now that I know a tax collector who prayers for the recipients of the bills, I will say a special prayer for our tax collector this evening — whoever she or he may be …

  4. Susan D. says:

    You’re so brave … daring to go where others would not tread – baring your lil number-lovin’ soul. A woman of many facets, colors and nuances…

    Soon, you’ll be revealing that you have Republican friends!

    I leave you singing: “Let My People Gooooo….” — laughing hysterically, of course.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Susan D., oh yes, oh yes, I have Republican friends and Democrat friends and laughing friends and sad friends and arguing friends and agreeable friends and sweet friends…and… oh yes. You know all about my number-lovin’ soul, don’t you? As we worked together out at the school and I gave you your checks… On that nostalgic note, I’ll join you in song!

  5. Zara says:

    Yet another, fantastic post!
    And it’s so refreshing to hear someone talk so positively about their job – even if you are a sinner! Seriously though, as much as we grumble about taxes (and I’m from Australia – a country that charges its citizens a minimum of 36% income tax, plus a 10% goods-and-services tax on all purchased items), I have to remember that the taxes not only go towards the politicians, but to the public servants, the teachers, the firemen, the police, the roads, the traffic lights, and to those little flower boxes they put beside the roads that can make a town look so pretty ^_^

    • Kathy says:

      Zara, I have been lucky to have two jobs that I like. Of course we all grumble about taxes, don’t we? But you are right…the world is filled with public servants (that is a much better word than ‘sinner’…smiling) who are trying to make the world a better place. A smile to you down in Australia!

  6. barb says:

    A TAX COLLECTOR? I would never have guessed in a million years. Now that I already like you, I’ll have to forgive you.

    • Kathy says:

      See, Barb–that’s why I waited so long to tell you. LOL! Actually it took a long time to tell about either job. Took forever to tell my first name on this here scary internet. You’d be surprised what some of us who live in the woods do for a living. :0

  7. Reggie says:

    I too would never have guessed that you are a tax collector, Kathy! I think it’s such a wonderful and uplifting idea to send blessings out with the envelopes, I’m sure the recipients felt your happy thoughts spilling out of the letter when they opened them, and warming up their hearts too. A lovely image.

    Isn’t it incredible how the people we connect with, whether on a daily basis or intermittently, and even the people we regard as friends, and even those we have never met in Blogland whom we also regard as friends, most likely have a whole lot of other sides to them? Wishes and dreams they’ve never shared with us, or amazing skills they learned that we don’t know about, or jobs they had before we met and that we’ve never bothered to ask about?

    A very thought provoking post, Kathy.

    • Kathy says:

      Dear Reggie…Ideally it would be nice if the recipients felt happy-feelings when they open their taxes. In actuality they are all probably frowning and grumbling. (But maybe their deeper selves know that there’s a hidden blessing inside. A hope anyway!)

      Reggie, I am also fascinated by this subject and wonder a lot about what we don’t know about blogging friends. Did you ever read this blog that I wrote about the subject? https://upwoods.wordpress.com/2010/04/09/the-secret-lives-of-bloggers/

  8. Ah, Kathy, I never blame the messenger. But as for the politicians who do make the rules, I can.

    We got some in Albany who have been playing politics with my money for three months know. It seems America is running out of money or has mandated so much of it, things we used to afford, we can no longer like state parks, safe bridges and water lines.

    I jost hope the money collected goes to the good of your township.

    Oh..and bless you. 😉

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Scott~~there are a lot of people unhappy and/or worried right now about things like you mentioned. Our township only has 482 people in it. There are very few services when you live in the woods. We have ambulance and fire and general township. That’s about all. All the rest of the taxes are for the county, the school, the ISD, etc. Thank you for your blessing.

  9. absurdoldbird says:

    Mmmm… two thoughts.
    First off – your occupation is fine by me. You don’t work in the UK.
    😉
    Second off – I keep reading ‘Inuit’ in your last paragraph and wonder if you work in an igloo.

    • Kathy says:

      Oh dear Ms. Bird, we’d be friends anyway even if I worked in the UK! None of my friends seem to define me by my job. As for working in an igloo…that’s a definite possibility. Seems that way in the middle of winter, anyway! We have brrrrrr cold winters here in the UP.

  10. K Odell says:

    I understand the need for taxes- I just wish they weren’t spent on overinflated salaries for nonsensical jobs- if you wanna fix the potholes down the street, though, I’m all for it!

    • Kathy says:

      I know what you mean, K. It’s always good when we know that our money is going into places we approve. As for overinflated salaries here in the woods–I am laughing. We have one person that makes over $10,000 and the rest of us peons are just part-timers way under that mark.

  11. LOL
    Thanks for the wonderful blog to end my day. I think we are on the same time zone or you might be eastern time?

    1000+ envelopes? we should get a few bloggers together for a Saturday and we could all knock it out in no time. I am sure we could get some wine and cheese, beans, licorice, organic foods and other items to share!

    Guess what sinner or not we are all saved by Divine Love!……

    Kim

    • Kathy says:

      Hi Kim! We’re on eastern time here…just at the edge of central time zone. Oh wouldn’t that have been fun to have help with the taxes? Smiling at the thought… And also smiling at the thought of Divine Love! I keep wanting to write “Have a good weekend” but it’s only Wednesday. Hmmmm…. 🙂

  12. flandrumhill says:

    Kathy, tax collectors were among Jesus’ closest friends. I think that says more about the human condition than us all being sinners. We’re all loveable and redeemable 🙂

    As a philatelist, your top photo has my stamp of approval. Beautiful scroll lines.

    • Kathy says:

      Really, Amy? Tax collectors were some of Jesus’ closest friends? That is turning everything I ever thought upside down! (But I like that part about all of us being loveable and redeemable…)

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