For you older-timers out there, the date March 15 still raises the hair on the back of your neck because you remember when that was the deadline. For those younger, the chill date is April 15. In either case, I’m talking about income tax day. Unless you pay quarterly, the 15th of April is when Uncle Sam stands there with both hands in your wallet. The deadline is midnight, and he’ll take as much dough as he can.

Even today, when the pollsters tell us that a majority of people don’t want a tax cut (that boggles the mind, and I’ll tell you, I don’t believe it), I doubt there is anyone who really likes writing that check to the government.

By the way, have you noticed that the last few years we’ve had to write the check payable to the United States Treasury instead of the IRS?

I guess they figured we would find the payment easier to make if we thought the money wasn’t going to the hated IRS but to the Treasury. Doesn’t that prove they think we’re pretty simple-minded?

Sorry fellas, the name change doesn’t cut it for me. No matter what you call it, it’s still the bureaucracy getting too many of my hard-earned bucks, and I don’t like it one bit. If you really want to improve my state of mind — cut taxes. I’d gladly write a check for a lesser amount, and it wouldn’t matter a bit to whom it was payable!

If those people polled really don’t want a tax cut, I just don’t understand their mentality. It must be something in the water!

In fact, it may well be — or in the air or more likely on the airwaves. Americans have been bombarded by radio and television, in fact all media, that the government needs more money so it can do more for us. I don’t buy that, but most don’t know any better. They’ve been fed that pap every day since elementary school.

Heaven help the poor school kids if their district is in the midst of teacher contract negotiations or about to issue the latest budget projections. At times like that, the students not only get the usual liberal line but they also get their teachers’ political campaigning.

It isn’t supposed to happen but it does, along with union propaganda and fliers to bring home. The kids also get suggestions how to lobby their parents. Then they’re exposed to the media offensive saying classes will be cut, teachers fired and kids unable to graduate. And that’s just for starters. It’s carefully crafted scare tactics.

All this pressure on uninformed minds creates the impression that schools need more money. Always. There’s never an end.

The bottom line in education is “more.” From the small elementary school to the halls of Congress, the pervasive attitude is that every school problem will be solved by a quick and intensive infusion of bucks.

So with all the interest in getting more money out of taxpayers for schools, there’s an interesting new twist in ballot measures. For example in Contra Costa County, in California, there’s a ballot item to renew a parcel tax for another six years and raise the amount from $62 per parcel to $85. The hook in all this is that the measure states that senior citizen property owners can choose to opt out of paying the tax!

It’s meant to pander to old folks on fixed incomes. It also is aimed at old folks who, just on principle, vote against school measures. Under this scheme, they can vote for it but not have to pay it! How about that? It puts a heavier tax burden on everyone else and also means that if an area has excellent schools, property values will increase — for everyone, even those seniors who choose not to pay the school tax! Whew!

This is lunacy! That it even got on the ballot, boggles the mind but in California people often vote in new laws only to learn after the fact, that the measure is unconstitutional. It remains to be seen if this tax on the March ballot will be challenged but it puts all of us on the slippery slope. Whatever happened to the equal protection clause?

But this idea isn’t new. Remember during Vietnam when a lot of people didn’t want their taxes to go to that war! Well, if you can opt out of a school tax, why not out of war taxes? How about opting out of using your tax money for certain arts projects (think Mayor Giuliani and the Brooklyn Museum)? How about opting out of money for stem cell research? Or welfare projects, or environmental enforcement or, or, or! Talk about opening a Pandora’s box.

I know, I know — California is the land of fruits and nuts, but it’s also the place where trends start. Remember Proposition 13, which protects homes from exorbitant property taxes? It started in California and the idea spread nationwide like wildfire. The goal was to keep a lid on property taxes, and it works — unless the bureaucracy comes up with ways to undermine it.

Well this “opting” provision is one way to do just that. Your “property tax” doesn’t go up but additional taxes are added to the calculation on the bill. Ultimately you are responsible to pay the final amount due. It’s another example of the long hand of the bureaucracy in your wallet. Fall for this one and you’ve got big, big trouble with an even bigger price tag.

And it’s coming your way.

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