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Letters to the Editor

Rising taxes

January 24, 2008

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To the editor:

Every time I read about the board of education needing more money, it seems it is raising property taxes. I believe that makes it more difficult for anyone who is trying to keep a place to live or a roof over their head. Why, after our children are grown, should we have to keep paying more taxes? There should be a time when it is done. No, we are still paying and being threatened about losing our property and having less for other things. If there can be a vote to add to property taxes, why can't there also be a vote NOT to add to taxes?

I am a senior citizen and a homeowner.

G. Bell,

Lawrence

Comments

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 11 months ago

G if you had children and they went to school there were a lot of people like you are now who helped pay for your children's education... and they had their children's education paid for, in part by the generation before them...

and let's not forget there are people who never have children who also help finance the education of other peoples' children...

I'm not crazy about rising taxes and I'm not sure that the school district needs more money and it's my opinion that in the past this school district has not spent money wisely... but of all the things I could bitch about that my tax dollars are wasted on, education is one of the least of my worries...

BigPrune 6 years, 11 months ago

What about the people who send their children to private school for $9000 a year but are still saddled with paying for the over spending schools?

$2.7 million in grass seed just this year alone.

LogicMan 6 years, 11 months ago

With the softening economy all state and local government organizations, including public schools, should be paring back their spending a bit. If not, they and their employees will have a big shock when the revenues aren't there in six months or so to pay for their on-going, much less their new programs. Be prepared to do a little less, with a lot less -- this year!

a_flock_of_jayhawks 6 years, 11 months ago

A point that goes directly to the root of the question is that a higher level of education that is enjoyed by the children currently in the system is indirectly enjoyed by taxpayers whose children have completed school and moved on.

Consider this: you can pay to educate them or pay to incarcerate them. In general, kids that are educated evolve into productive members of society while those that are not educated turn to activities which prey on society.

As far as those that elect to send their kids to private schools, that is a choice they make. As a taxpayer and beneficiary of a society that promotes education, they still bear the responsibility to support that initiative financially.

@JackRipper - you can obtain budgetary information from the school district. It will typically be categorized in various functional areas and usually does not list salary for a particular teacher or staff member unless it is a key staffer in the top ranks. I do not agree that they do not know how to spend money to get the best results, rather, they are demonstrating a balance across all of the programs that they are responsible for. I would encourage you to review a budget and participate in school board meetings to find out more and contribute to the process. There are staff members that serve practically every district that are trained in accounting and finance and the particular flavor associated with public administration. School board trustees also receive specific training and briefing related to finance issues, so they are trained in that area. They contribute their personal time to serve and understand the issues.

Bruce Bertsch 6 years, 11 months ago

The budget of the school board is public record. if you want to review it, you certainly can. Time and again it shown that sports and the arts acrtually make for better students and higher achievement, yet the first thing that the self appointed educators want to cut are sports and the arts. If you want an improvement in basic education, quit electing presidents who saddle schools with needless achievement tests.

bugmenot 6 years, 11 months ago

If you're stupid enough to send your kids to private schools when high quality free ones are available, I guess you can just call it a stupidity tax.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 6 years, 11 months ago

DirtyLinen says... "Ah, the party line. It's pretty arguable whether lack of education makes one a criminal (there are some pretty smart ones), or whether a third factor, such as lack of opportunity in general, leads to both lack of education and crime."

Arguable only if you discount the numerous studies that describe the link. Merely stating the fact that there are some crafty criminals out there falls way short of discounting that relationship.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 6 years, 11 months ago

JackRipper says... "Put it out there, should be easier then there campaigns to raise our taxes."

Absolutely! I couldn't agree more. In other states, they are available online. I've never understood why it is not available through those means in Kansas. For that matter, Kansas is far behind other states, for example, Missouri, in the amount of information in several departments that is available through government repositories online.

been_there 6 years, 11 months ago

"If you're stupid enough to send your kids to private schools when high quality free ones are available, I guess you can just call it a stupidity tax."

What if your not assigned to one of the "better" Lawrence schools, and believe me they are not all created egual. If you can't get a transfer, and some times you can't, you are stuck at a that school. That is unless you are Mary Loveland and you can afford to buy a house just for your child to supposedly live in so they can attend the new high school. Then when people complain you can write a nasty letter to the editor and tell everyone off.

staff04 6 years, 11 months ago

"Why, after our children are grown, should we have to keep paying more taxes?"

You know what? You're right. Let's shut down that school and see what happens to your property value...I'm sure your kids will thank you for that...or your wife, if you ever have to try to sell the place to someone who isn't 85 years old...

Richard Heckler 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr Bell,

Each time the real estate industry creates new structures and new neighborhoods it increases the cost of community services to you and all other taxpayers. This increases your taxes and fees.

USD 497 is the least of your worries most of the time. The Chamber of Commerce,City Commission,County Commission and their back doors deals is where you might direct your attention. Their hands are in your wallet.

Tax Increment Financing gets into your wallet and takes money from the school district.

Think about this:

Following the construction of the $88 million sewage treatment plant,which in and of itself increases the cost of community services, will be more: water and sewer lines streets and repairs houses public schools fire stations law enforcement manpower sidewalks snow removal bike trails and cross walks Traffic signals Traffic calming Parks and Rec centers swimming pool maybe developers requesting more tax dollar assistance(new infrastructure) for their warehouses and retail strip malls.

*In general increases the cost of community services to all taxpayers = higher taxes & fees

Dacia McCabe Maher 6 years, 11 months ago

Don't worry guys. If the city starts approving TIFs for projects like the Oread Inn, we'll surely be scrambling for funding for our schools. Anyone caring to discuss this issue? There will be a meeting on February 9th, 10:00 am to noon at the Lawrence Public Library.

Tony Kisner 6 years, 11 months ago

When Mr. Bell cashes his Social Security check I would guess the 75% of the money he enjoys is funded by tax payers still working.

Mr. Bell could be on to something as the babyboomers retire I could see them using the ballot box to eliminate all public spending that does not directly benefit them.

stuckinthemiddle 6 years, 11 months ago

DirtyLinen nope... just calling some selfish person on their attitude of "my kids got what they needed, screw your kids"... nothing more... nothing less...

believe me... I have absolutely no interested in debated you on how kids are educated...

Kathy Getto 6 years, 11 months ago

moderationman (Anonymous) says:

If you want an improvement in basic education, quit electing presidents who saddle schools with needless achievement tests.


NCLB on its face is not the problem - the refusal to fund it is.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 6 years, 11 months ago

"Geez, is there one person, just one, on these forums who understands statistics?" - DirtyLinen

I'd venture a guess that I know a wee bit more about sociology and statistics than you give me credit for, DL. All that noise and the fact that a link exists still stands. Whether you can get beyond your political leanings to buy a "party line" is your problem, not ours.

Adn you probably know from some of my previous posts that I am a former school board trustee.

Get a grip.

been_there 6 years, 11 months ago

When Mr. Bell cashes his Social Security check I would guess the 75% of the money he enjoys is funded by tax payers still working.

And 100% probably just covers his co-pay for his medicine. I know that's all my mom's covers, and she worked hard all her life. Come on, do you really think he gets all that much? Senior citizens worked hard all their life, and paid taxes, and many now barely survive. Medicine and medical care takes most of their money. Bell is just a senior citizen probaby caught between a rock and a hard place and trying to survive, why not give him a break and let him vent a little. I knew an elderly lady that used to eat canned cat food because she couldn't afford meat. You never know, that could be you some day.

been_there 6 years, 11 months ago

Just for the heck of it, I'm going to throw out my story of my visit to the high school office about 6 years ago. While I'm sitting there, in comes a shipment of flat panel moniters for all the office computers, I counted six in that office alone. Now the secretary herself said there was nothing wrong with the ones they had, they were just getting flat panel monitors. Years later, I still don't have a flat panel, I take whatever comes with the computer. Yeah, I know, they take up less room, but you can get the job done with a regular monitor, and they're even cheaper now than they were then.

Kathy Gates 6 years, 11 months ago

You raise an interesting question, Mr. Bell. Can I ask one? Why, when the likelihood that I will ever benefit from Social Security is slim to none, should I continue paying for your monthly check? Maybe because it's the right thing to do? Seems like that's the answer to your question, too.

KS 6 years, 11 months ago

bugmenot (Anonymous) says:

If you're stupid enough to send your kids to private schools when high quality free ones are available, I guess you can just call it a stupidity tax.

bugmenot - Give me the name of one "quality free one" in Lawrence, Kansas. You can't. Now who is stupid?

matahari 6 years, 11 months ago

Mr Merrill... Please stop repeating yourself..you made the exact same list/statement on 11 January 2008 at 7:18 a.m. concerning the article "Sewer issue raises a stink" I wondered why your post was not a cut/paste, but it was! (again/still)

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 11 months ago

I strongly agree. If it keeps up like it has been, they will tax us off of the land we worked all our lives to buy and the house that sits on it. We worked even longer to have the money to build the house. There are many older folks in our situation. We "baby boomers" constitute a huge voting majority, and it would behoove the government, both local, state, and federal to listen to us. Most of us belong to AARP, and their lobbying efforts are legendary. Let's all start writing them about this. Let's get it stopped. In Texas they freeze your property taxes if you are disabled and/or reach a certain age. All states should be required to do the same. Also, Texas has no sales tax on groceries either. Why don't we move? I want to, but my wife's family is all here and she doesn't want to. Thank you, Lynn

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 11 months ago

P.S. This all day kindergarten is a prime example. Why should the taxpayers pay for day care for everyone's children? We shouldn't. Unless we start doing something about it, we will end up paying for it. Education is a money eating monster with an insatiable appetite. The more they get, the more they want. A large percentage of our taxes go to the school district, and their various bond issues. They are constantly screaming they don't have enough money and our children are suffering. The scam works, the louder they scream, the more money they get and the higher our taxes rise. Will it ever stop, NO, unless we all get together and stop it. By that time most of us still alive will be homeless. Thank you, Lynn

janeyb 6 years, 11 months ago

So Congress is wasting all it's time today on a tax rebate just so the state, city, county, school districts and KU in my situation can take it away from us.

a_flock_of_jayhawks 6 years, 11 months ago

Lynn says... "In Texas they freeze your property taxes if you are disabled and/or reach a certain age. All states should be required to do the same. Also, Texas has no sales tax on groceries either"

If you ever move to Texas, you'll get to learn about chapter 41 "the Robin Hood law". Yes, there is no state income tax and the sales taxes are a little higher, but food is excluded. Property taxes are a different story. Chapter 41 creates donor and recipient school districts. If you live in a recipient district, then the $$$ property value per child is below the median for the state, which means your district will receive funds that were recaptured by the state from donor districts or through a direct agreement between the donor and recipient districts. If you live in a donor district, the property value per child is above the median, which means a portion of your taxes will go to a recipient district. The higher the district is above the mean, the larger percentage of tax dollars collected that will go elsewhere. The donor district has no say as to what the recipient district will spend the money on.

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