Monday, February 21, 2011

Property Taxes Would “Soar”

There is a short blurb in the Austin American-Statesman today about how a Texas family’s property taxes would “soar” if property taxes were going to make up the difference in the proposed $9.3 billion cut in state funding to public education. And I have to admit, when I saw the numbers that they were throwing out there, I had to wonder if the very thing that I am proposing here, that property owners will have to step up and make up the difference if the state can’t meet its mandate, is something that I can support.

They report that if a person’s property is assessed to be worth 200,000, not totally out of line in the area of Texas that I live in, their property tax would rise by $555 dollars – after the homestead exemption.

Whew. $555 is quite a chunk of change. So big of a chunk of change that State Senator Florence Shapiro calls it a nonstarter.

“Don’t even go there” is what she reportedly said.

But then I remembered that this isn’t a monthly charge. This is what you have to pay in 12 installments if you have your property taxes all rolled up in your mortgage payment as I do.

It comes out to an increase of $46.25 per month.

For $46.25 per month your child won’t be forced to sit in a classroom with 39 of their fellow students as their teacher attempts to teach the same content he or she could easily teach the year before.

For $46.25 per month your child will have a textbook for the classes they attend.

For $46.25 per month your child’s teacher will be able to make Xerox copies of tests and quizzes instead of you providing the paper that the school district will no longer be able to buy.

For $46.25 per month your school’s fine arts department will be able to remain in place and students with talent in areas other than academics will be able to excel in their areas of competence.

For $46.25 per month you will not be nickel and dimed to death by your school and your district who will find that they have to now charge you for things that were once provided gratis – you know, like bus service.

But no, according to Florence Shapiro, who was once  a classroom teacher, that is a non-starter.

Know what is a non-starter? Watching education in Texas take a nosedive. Watching the spread of ignorance in this state when education is more important than ever as our children will be forced to compete for the better higher paying jobs with countries who have a higher regard for education than do we.

All that is a non-starter as far as I am concerned, and Florence Shapiro, as a former teacher, should know better.

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