"But if it is believed that these elementary schools will be better managed by...any other general authority of the government, than by the parents within each ward [district], it is a belief against all experience." --Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Aug. 6, 2013 @ 6pm: Hearing on Property Tax Increase!!!

Tuesday, Aug. 6, 6pm at the District Office, 575 N. 100 E., American Fork!!!!

Tonight is the final hearing and vote on the tax increase for the district.  While it is a minimal tax increase, scheduled to raise $1.5 M to replace the amount being sent to charter schools by the state, I believe that a tax increase is a measure of last resort.  While we can always find good things to do with that money, the question is whether or not we need that additional amount to fulfill our obligations.

As an example, during June's meeting, we purchased a piece of property from MATC for $1.4M.  This property may be used to move our Adult Services classes for those with disabilities from our Lindon facility to American Fork.  We could also use it to house our At-risk students' alternative High School.  In short, there are many potential uses, but nothing concrete at the moment.  So, do we need to now raise taxes from our patrons for the same amount?  Sure, we can raise taxes and replace carpets and make repairs.  But, we could also not purchase property and do the same thing.  For me, I would have preferred to wait on the property until we were more clear on its use before expending the money. 

Just because our district can use your tax money to do good things, just because it's not a lot of money, does that mean we have a moral imperative to take your money by force?  I think we are under a greater obligation to make sure this is the last possible course of action for educating the kids of our district before we come to you with our hand open.  Property taxes, as I've said before, are the most eggregious form of taxation.  You don't get more money as your property values increase, but you still have to pay the increased taxes.  This places a huge burden on people who are undergoing income difficulties.  There are waivers for the elderly and the disabled, but nothing for a young family that moved into their first home last year and then lost their full-time employment, or a military family affected by the sequester.  While I know we could use the money, I am not convinced that it meets the criteria of being the last, possible resort.  I think it is just simply a matter of wanting to get the amount back that the legislature sent to the charter schools.  I disagree with the legislature on this one, but I'm not comfortable making you pay for their mistake.  For me, showing up the legislature on the backs of our taxpayers isn't what good government means.

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