Taxes have got people talking

Published 12:11 am Wednesday, November 4, 2009

From all appearances, local educators and county commissioners are looking to implement a additional 1-cent sales tax for “educational purposes.”

To put that into context, it means that for every $100 spent, it will soon cost you $9 in taxes.

Chairman Lynn Sasser has said he felt commissioners would only agree to the tax if the county received a portion of the 1-cent increase.

I know there have been major cuts made to the education budget because of proration, and forecasters are predicting more of the same doom and gloom because of decline sales tax collections.

That begs me to ask the question — why in the world would someone tie even more strings to a revenue source in which there are no collection guarantees? If the economy continues to decline, people will slow spending, thereby creating an even bigger shortfall of sales tax collections. It makes more sense to me to base education funding on property tax collections. At least then you know exactly how much you’re going to get, and when.

From reading posts on The Star-News Web site, it seems our readers also have thoughts and concerns.

On Oct. 31, “Patrick” posted, “The commissioners forget that not only are governments experiencing shortfalls, but individuals as well. … Another tax on the poor and working people in the county should not be an option. Increasing taxes for education should mean 100 percent goes to education. Consider consolidating into one county school system and stop wasting the money on multiple administrators and staff.”

On Nov. 2, “Chefjones” posted, “In this county of 39,000 people we have too many systems. We should merge our education system, with the exception of Florala. I believe they live to far away to be bussed. We could save $300,000 in administration costs and have three times the elective courses at school and even maybe use Opp High School as a technical school. … Superintendents should tighten their money belts also. As for the teachers, God bless you. I could never do it.”

Later that evening, “supprtVets” posted, “Six thousand kids make up the student population of Opp, Andalusia and the County School systems all combined. Of these 6,000 students, the combined budgets for these three systems (is more than) $40 million. (Rounded off) that is a rough $7,000 per child per school year, or about $200 per week per child to school. I know many of the parents that don’t make much more than that, but yet have to feed and clothe (their children). … If these super educated officials in the school system can’t teach (children) on $40-plus million a year, the whole system needs to be overhauled and redone to fit our budgets.”

So here’s my question for you — if you don’t think an additional sales tax is the answer to fixing our education system’s immediate funding issue, what is the answer?