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Youth Face Tax and Budget "Sticker Shock"

The National Priorities Project average taxpayer receipt      Graphic: Courtesy of NPP
The National Priorities Project average taxpayer receipt Graphic: Courtesy of NPP
April 11, 2013

CHICAGO - A recent study by the American Psychological Association found that millenials, Americans between 18 and 33, have higher than normal levels of stress. And many young people who are starting to learn about taxes and federal budgets say they're getting nervous about the future.

Dan Neuman, FSM News Technology Coordinator at Free Spirit Media, runs a youth journalism cable TV show in Chicago. He said when his students found out how tax dollars are spent, they came to some realizations.

"They know they are about to step out into a very rough climate, and that college is absolutely essential. They're very aware of what's waiting for them out there, and some of them are at the point of anxiety."

The National Priorities Project figures that the average taxpayer in 2012 sent nearly $3,000 in taxes to the military and just under $400 to education.

The average college student graduates with $27,000 in student loans. Daphne Hines is one of them. The student at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, said, "Oh my goodness, I am so worried about my student loans."

Hines' father was in the Air Force, and she said that while she understands the importance of a strong nation, she thinks the military could afford to take some cuts, because to her, the 3 cents of every tax dollar that goes to education is just not enough.

Congressional and academic researchers estimate that American companies have more than $1 trillion in overseas tax shelters - more than three quarters of that from a few huge corporations. Dan Smith, tax and budget advocate with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), called that unfair.

"When large companies don't pay taxes, the public and the average taxpayer end up picking up the tab in the form of cuts to public programs, higher taxes or more debt."

Smith authored a report called "Picking up the Tab" that explains just how offshore tax shelters affect each state.

In the meantime, more than 200 young people made videos explaining how they want their tax dollars used. The American Friends Service Committee will be taking many of those videos and young producers from Illinois and several other states to Washington, D.C., to present them on April 15 - tax day.

More information is available from the American Friends Service Committee at https://afsc.org/, from U.S. PIRG at http://uspirg.org/, and from the National Priorities Project at http://nationalpriorities.org/.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL