Taxing times – whichever way you look

Death and taxes – two certainties in our lives. Well, the former is more of a definite. You’re either dead – or you’re alive. No half-way house.

But when it comes to taxes, the question of how much comes into play.

Most of us accept – albeit grudgingly – that taxation is a necessary evil in order to finance a whole host of services, ranging from street lighting and roads to defence of the realm (we’ll not dwell on what sort of protection, because that would probably take us onto the controversial subject of nuclear weapons).

A Scottish Government commission, of which Borders councillor Catriona Bhatia is a member, is looking at alternatives to council tax – the current method by which we pay for local services. Retaining a property-based system, a local income or a land value tax are some of the ideas under consideration.

Councillor Bhatia’s party – the Liberal Democrats – have, for a long time, beat the drum for a local income tax. But in last week’s Southern, Scottish Borders Council chief executive Tracey Logan was at best lukewarm about going down that road.

In the end, what really matters is how our hard-earned cash is used, regardless of method of extraction. Some taxpayers may even not object to coughing up for a restored railway, retention of bus services – or a building to house a work of art, such as a tapestry.