A Pennsylvania man was so frustrated by his property taxes last week that he decided to pay the $7,143 school portion of the charges with stacks of single dollar bills.
Robert Fernandes, of Forks Township, Pa., said he feels like the tax collectors are "stealing" from him because he and his family don't utilize some of the services he's required to pay for. For example, Fernandes' wife home-schools their three children.
"We don't even use the public system, yet I am being forced to pay all this money into a public school system," Fernandes told the collectors when he went in person to pay the bill. The exchange was recorded and posted to YouTube. "I don’t think that’s really either fair or just or even ethical. It would be the equivalent if McDonald's were to force vegetarians to pay for their cheeseburgers."
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The tax collector didn’t quarrel with Fernandes as he launched into a speech about "property rights" and the "free market," instead accepting payment from other township residents who came bearing checks.
"I'm not doing this to make anybody's life more difficult," Fernandes told the collector. "Unfortunately, I wish the same could be said, you know, for me and many others whose lives are more difficult for having to pay property taxes."
Fernandes urged the clerk to count the dollar bills by hand, but when she suggested they take the money to a nearby bank, he again went off about the township supposedly stealing from him.
"I guess there's no money-counting machines here," he said. "It's so much money that they're taking from me, my family, my wife, and kids that it requires an automated process."
Under Pennsylvania law, families who home-school are still considered part of the school district where they live, according to Forbes.
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