Local School Boards Count On Voter Apathy To Increase Taxes

Writer’s Workshop of Sullivan County

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Local School Boards Count On Voter Apathy To Increase Taxes: 

How many Sullivan County School Districts are holding the line at the Tax Cap in 2013?

 

by Ben Math

   “Voters are not stupid, but apathetic taxpaying citizens who choose not to vote are dumber than dirt.”

 

June is approaching and soon we may again witness the appalling apathy of the voters regarding the school board elections and budgets.

 

Just the other day, the Liberty Central School District voted to increase taxes by 3% and ignored the 2% cap imposed by the state.

 

Sullivan County voters should all pay attention to whether their school boards and administrators are fiscally responsible and can and are willing to keep tax increases truly to a minimum.

 

Voters should even ask the question why they are not reducing taxes too.

 

Last year some of the School Districts offered a relatively impressive display of financial stewardship. In the midst of our great recession when the average property owner could least afford an increase in their school taxes some districts actually refused to increase their budgets. Others unfortunately, felt entitled to spend more.

 

In the corporate world, when a manager is asked to cut his expenses by 10%, he does it or loses his job. He loses his job not because he was asked to do the impossible, but because reducing expenses by only 10% is so easy to do and only incompetence or defiance could fail.

 

We can do it at home and we can do it in business, so why can’t we do it in government?

Have you ever seen a school budget up for vote where they proposed reducing it by 10%?

 

Of course not!

 

The School Boards schedule their elections in June rather than in November. How convenient for them. They are ensured a low voter turnout, and if they can rally their troops, they can always get that new higher budget number passed.

 

Voter apathy is a wonderful thing for the “Tax and Spend” folks on these school boards.

Well, perhaps this voter apathy is justified.

 

So what if your school taxes go up one or two hundred dollars per year. You can afford that, right?

 

But is that the real cost?

 

Before we answer those questions, let’s get a grip on where the average Baby Boomer is financially.

 

Most did not put much money away for retirement and typically only have a small fraction of what they should for retirement. Social Security was their lifeline; but alas Washington has done an incredulous job squandering their money and now it looks like they may not be able to count on much from that Social Security System.

 

The only asset they have left is that house they finally paid off. When they run out of money they will be able to reverse mortgage their house and that should be enough to get them through. Or will it?

 

What happens to the value of our most prized asset every time our taxes go up? Its resale value and hence its appraised value goes down. So how does that impact you?

Well every $10/month you pay in additional taxes, will result in about $20 less per month you will get from your reverse mortgage. So the net cost to the average baby boomer for each $10 per month increase in School taxes will be about $30 per month when they retire.

 

Do this every year for the next 10 years and you will pay a hefty price for your apathy.

Worried about retirement? Perhaps you should get involved, learn about the key issues, and most importantly vote.

 

Voters are not stupid, but apathetic taxpaying citizens who choose not to vote are dumber than dirt.

 

Yes, it would be nice if the school boards found ways to reduce waste and cut spending, but until you tell them they need to, they won’t.

 

Make sure you vote in the upcoming school board elections-and let the “tax and spend” folks on the school boards know that you can’t afford them anymore.

 

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Bazzo 04/27/13

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