Friday, September 18, 2015

The Ugly Truth Behind The School Budget Battle

There is an ugly seldom talked about truth behind the school budget battle. It isn't politically correct to mention this truth because it points out the inequities in School Financing.

There are two types of taxpayers in any town. Those taxpayers that pay more in taxes than they consume in resources and those that consume more in resources than they contribute in taxes.

Lets take my situation as an example: "net positive taxpayer"
  • I have no kids in Lisbon's school system,and I also have no grandchildren in the system or any school system for that matter.
  • I don't use or have access to the town water or sewer systems.
  • I live on a private road so I must plow my own street.
  • I don't live on the town subsidized bus route.
  • I haven't used the Police/Fire or Emergency services. 
Last year I paid about $3,500 dollars in taxes to the town of Lisbon.
In short I pay much more in taxes than I consume in resources.

Now lets look at the other side of the equation:
"net negative taxpayer"
 Lets look at the average member of our school's "Special Interest Group," a member of the "NO TO LOW CROWD" that is crying for more money.
  • They use $5,000 dollars in resources for every child they have in Lisbon schools.
  •  The average home tax in Lisbon is somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500. 
This person's taxes  barely pay for the municipal costs of government.  In many cases none of their tax dollars go toward paying for their own children's education.  They rely on other people to pay their share of educating their children.

In order for a parent in Lisbon to pay for only 1 child in Lisbon Schools they would have to pay over $9,000 dollars in real estate taxes. I don't think many parents in Lisbon pay that much in taxes.   

Now that we have a clearer idea of who will be paying for the extra money the School wants lets continue with the conversation.

If the "NO TO LOW" crowd doesn't stop their selfish ways they are going to drive the "NET POSITIVE" tax payers out of our town and then where will they be.  They may have to pay for their own children's education or move to another town with another group of "net positive" taxpayers willing to pay their tax deficit.

 This argument reminds me of the "Aesop Fable" of the greedy dog with a bone crossing a stream. In mid bridge he looks down into the water and sees a reflection of himself with a bone in his mouth.
His greed for both bones causes him to bark and in doing so he loses the bone he had. 

Before someone brings up the "we need an educated society" argument lets take a look at the education we are getting for our tax dollars. Lisbon schools have  "D" and "C" ratings. Do schools with this designation really create an educated society? 

I feel bad for one group of people in Lisbon.  They are the retired senior residents that are actually "net positive" taxpayers but lack the resources to escape from this situation. They will be in danger of losing their homes to higher and higher taxes forced on them by the "NO TO LOW" crowd.  This is a tragedy! If you are a member of this group you may want to call your Councilors and let them know you can't pay more taxes.

I encourage people to call and support their Councilors and let them know you don't want higher taxes.  

Also call the School Board members and tell them to stop complaining about the Council and find the cuts necessary to balance their budget. 

Joe Hill

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