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From the Executive Director — April 2021

April 15 is approaching quickly, and most taxpayers know what that means. It’s time to file your state and federal taxes (FYI, this year you have an extra month on the federal side thanks to an IRS extension). The concept of taxation has multiple meanings. In addition to being a “compulsory contribution” to governmental revenue, tax is also defined as “a strain or heavy demand.” It is this second type of tax I’d like to briefly examine.

In addition to sales tax and income tax, many of us pay taxes based on our gender or race. If you’ve never heard of these concepts, let me introduce you. The Pink Tax refers to the higher price women pay for gendered products and applies to everything from beauty products to toys to clothing. Candace Elliott shares this year’s calculations for the Pink Tax, as well as updates on legislative efforts to eliminate the tax in the US and abroad, in her Listen Money Matters post.

There is also a tax in this country for people of color. This tax plays out across all aspects of your life: in education, retail, media, social services, healthcare, and our justice system — and this list is not exhaustive. It is often referred to as the Black Tax, but it is experienced by all people of color. Bryant Gumbel summarized it well in an interview last year, “It’s about being asked to overlook blue failings and white failings so they can be conveniently viewed as Black issues. It’s about being asked by so many what they should do or say about race when the easy answer lies in the privacy of each person’s heart. It’s the ‘Black tax’ … it’s paid daily by me and every person of color in this country, and frankly, it’s exhausting.”

How can libraries be part of the solution? Libraries are already largely tax-exempt entities. Let’s also commit to becoming tax-free environments. As organizations at the center of school, community and campus life, we can endeavor to eliminate this for all those who work in our buildings and use our services.

Be well,

To view the rest of OhioNET’s April 2021 newsletter, click here


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