Don’t Spend It All in One Place . . .

27 07 2009

The Leon County School Board will vote on its tentative $430 million budget for the new school year and a proposed decrease in property taxes for homeowners during Tuesday’s meeting.

[Really? Hey, maybe we can afford Favorite Daughter’s fall term at FSU after all? That’s public education we can use!]

With the new tax rate, homeowners will pay $7.747 for every $1,000 in property value compared to last year’s rate of $7.82.

That means, for example, a resident with a home valued at $200,000 will pay $12.79 less in property taxes, said Merrill Wimberley, chief-financial officer for the Leon County School District.

Not the $1,279 we need to make up the tuition gap? You’re sure, you mean twelve dollars (oh, right, plus another seventy-nine cents) — and that’s not per family member as Alaska tax rebates, but for the whole family, for the whole year? Um, well, I guess we can go stand in line at McDonald’s and cover our kids for a couple of hours at least, if we don’t bring their soccer team along . . .

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11 responses

27 07 2009
Mrs. C

This stuff is beyond me. I have no clue how these school boards need votes to pass some taxes, but not others. All I know is that here, magically because property values are going down, taxes have to go UP so everyone pays their “fair share” because revenues are declining, etc.

Yep.

27 07 2009
JJ

Oh Mrs. C, I hadn’t considered that. If our property values drop, then I guess we’ll save even less than the 12 bucks?? 😉

Like shopping a sale — the more you spend, the more you save and vice versa?

28 07 2009
NanceConfer

Why are they cutting any taxes? All we hear about is the need to cut services, in and out of schools. $13 a year isn’t going to make any difference to the homeowner — if they are lucky enough to still have a home and if it is still worth $200,000.

At the height of all the housing craziness, the prices were so high that new homeowners complained about the related property taxes. Solution? Realize prices might be out of kilter? Or use that as an opportunity to cut taxes? Guess which one our short-sighted right-wing reps and the voters leaped to do.

And be sure to act surprised when there isn’t enough money in the kitty when the inevitable downturn comes.

But at least the uber-rich still have slightly lower property tax rates. And the sucker in the over-priced McMansion? He’s on his own as are all the other residents in average homes who actually depend on social services like schools.

Nance

28 07 2009
JJ

Oh, the plot thickens! So we’re going to actually open ourselves up to the whole story, not just say “what’s in it for me?” Good, let’s.

Ray: This is my corn. You people are guests in my corn.
. . . I did it all. I listened to the voices, I did what they told me, and not once did I ask what’s in it for me.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: What are you saying, Ray?
Ray: I’m saying — what’s in it for me?

(Nance, it’s not really a baseball movie — it answers this question in a very unschoolish way imo, which isn’t money or a lot of other “values” neatly skewered as the story unfolds.)

So this homeowner saves $13 but will still personally pay over $1500 dollars, just in school tax. With or without kids, or with kids in private school or in college so that the family is paying thousands more for their total education bill too. In return, what’s in it for them isn’t the $13 savings, surely — so what is it? A better educated society for us all? (Where, where, out in the corn and I should just trust them on that?)

I was thinking about this over the weekend, listening to various health care reform arguments, how it’s sort of the same thing except we basically botched education reform and gave up, moved on. And the costs are killing us much like health costs are, as we collectively get sicker rather than healthier and less able to break out of the spiral. The big answer isn’t money, neither saving it or spending it or regulating it better etc. Money’s a means to the end, the way we keep score.

28 07 2009
Mrs. C

But see, I still have kids in public schools. I can tell you that they started charging kids to play sports or have to bring in extra supplies. But “poor” families don’t have to pay a blessed dime. Everyone else will cover your load for you. Fine “lesson” to teach the kids – when you run out of money you don’t have to do without extras because your neighbour will pay even while he is paying *extra* to send his own child.

We’ve had such horrible corruption and mismanagement on the school board and with our past superintendents (one of whom is still awaiting his criminal trial), but these people know that they can just pass another bond issue and voters will go for it.

WHY?

Because the KIDS shouldn’t have to suffer. Think of the kids!

I’m starting to wonder just how stupid voters really are.

28 07 2009
JJ

We should all have t-shirts:
“I’m starting to wonder just how stupid voters really are.”

28 07 2009
JJ

Btw there is an EXCELLENT discussion of the complexities of health care economics today on NPR, Terry Gross’ substitute interviewing the liberal Nobel (and Pulitzer) Prize economist Paul Krugman with a very mature and wise-sounding conservative expert, Stuart Butler from the Heritage Foundation. And here’s the good news: they AGREE on almost everything!
It should be available in audio at this link starting this evening:
Economists Krugman, Butler On Funding Health Care

I mention it in this thread because the whole time I was driving and listening intently, I was nodding and even saying out loud in the car, just like public education! You’d never set the system up from scratch the way it is now, but everybody wants to keep it as it is for themselves, plus not pay as much as they’re already paying, and they seem not to realize how screwed up (systemically) it’s been and how it’s getting worse and is unsustainable without major reform based on very wise policy reforms. (Not populist politics much less what the wacko, barely high-schooled, millionaire fear-mongers are being very well paid to scream all day long with constitutional protection, on the COMMERCIAL radio setting.)

Economists Paul Krugman and Stuart Butler discuss the way America’s health care system is financed — and how it should be.

A Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist, Krugman argues in a July 25 New York Times culumn that free markets alone cannot fix the health care system. He’s a professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University, and his books include The Conscience of a Liberal, The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century and The Return of Depression Economics.

A native of Britain, Butler — the vice president for domestic and economic policy studies for the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation — argues for a restructured health care system based on consumer choice.

Butler is the author of the 1989 manifesto A National Health System for America, in which he argues distortions in the tax code have created a health care system that denies individual choice and drives up costs.

28 07 2009
Nance Confer

So, Mrs. C, you really think poor kids aren’t doing without extras? Really?

I don’t. I think they are being buffered ever so slightly by whatever aid programs are available in school that less-poor kids don’t need and therefore don’t qualify for but it doesn’t make up for all the “extras” that many (of us?) think of as the bare minimum a kid needs.

Nance

28 07 2009
Nance Confer

Yes, JJ. I think we are agreeing. I think the $13 being waved in front of the homeowner’s nose is just today’s shiny thing to distract us from the big problems. And the difficult, systemic changes needed to make real change.

But we’re not supposed to notice that capitalism isn’t actually working.

Nance

28 07 2009
JJ

What I am finding so shocking is that the reason it’s not working is because there are people who mean for it not to work! And are lying to accomplish that.

Constitutional civil rights attorney blogger Glenn Greenwald called it “authoritarian cultism.”

It’s like computer viruses. I never could wrap my brain around smart, perfectly capable people who would set out to destroy rather than create, when they had a choice. But I am having to face highly placed politicians and lobbyists and corporate conspirators now, purposely planting viruses in my America to see how they can hurt people and tear down what they cannot control for themselves, or like a stalker killing the object of his obsession if he can’t have it all to himself.

29 07 2009
Mrs. C

Nance, I’m low, low, low middle-class. I think the “poor” have a lot more extras than I do. When we wanted Patrick to play the cello, it had to be a family SACRIFICE to send off that $70 per month to pay for our instrument. After three years, we finally have earned the instrument. But poor kids? Here’s a cello; enjoy!

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