Vote NO on School Tax Increase
Our “Leader’s Picks” proposes a NO vote on the School Tax Increase. Since this is mentioned in the Sunday 10/24 Marc Freeman article in the print version of the Sun Sentinel, along with a link to this website, this post further explains our position. Click HERE for the article.
The very last question on the ballot concerns the School Board tax surcharge. An “extra” tax of .25 ad valorem millage was levied by the School Board last year, and extended so as to apply to the 2010 and 2011 budget years. It is set to expire at the end of June next year. This was provided for by the State Legislature, but extension beyond 2 years requires approval of the voters. Now the school district is asking the voters to extend it for 4 years, to 2015, for “school operational needs”.
The School District is using taxpayer money in their campaign to get the measure approved, purchasing robo calls and distributing flyers. This appears to be another example of government officials advocating for their positions in public debate – much as county employees are turned out by their managers to speak at commission meetings in favor of keeping programs or increasing spending.
It should be noted that 3 of the 7 School Board members voted against putting this measure on the ballot.
THIS SHOULD BE SOUNDLY REJECTED for the following reasons:
- The school board needs to pass a budget every year to fund its operations. This budget is scrutinized in public meetings, and voted on by the School Board members. If they decide to raise our taxes, it is done in the open and justified by conditions, mandates, exceptional circumstances – whatever. The key thing is that the public has a role in the process. This surcharge takes the levy out of the public eye for another 4 years.
- It is a tax increase, not an “extension”. The initial imposition of the tax committed it to end next year. Anyone planning their tax burden for the next year has taken its termination into account. If this passes, IT IS A NEW TAX not an extension.
- Many would argue that the growth of the school budget over the last 8 years, like the county budget, has been excessive – more driven by the availability of property taxes linked to the real estate bubble than to needs of the district. Yes, there are mandates to deal with (eg. class size), but with these economic conditions, the entire budget should be scrubbed before another tax increase is added to the millage increase just approved for the 2011 budget.
TAB – the Palm Beach County Taxpayer Action Board (of which South Florida 912 is a coalition partner) has the school budget on its radar and plans a full review of the budget and its history during the FY2012 cycle