New school will have tax ripples

Published 1:21 pm Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Taxpayers for DollarSS and Sense Committee notes that an ad recently taken out in a local paper by the United South Central Education Association promotes the success of use students in the areas of academics, arts and athletics. This reinforces the idea put forth by our committee that a building does not educate a child and that a vote against a $42.4 minion facility is not a vote against a child’s education; instead, the emphasis of a child’s education should continue to be on what is being learned, not where it is learned. Even as the success of our students continues, the demand to build a new facility goes on. Where will the money for this proposal come from? Who will pay?

As the season passes and crops continue to struggle, the pressure felt by the residents of our community also grows. The burden is especially felt by the men and women who produce the largest share of our local economy — agriculture. The pressure of paying for a new school over the next 20 years will be felt by everyone who has a hand in agriculture and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the USC School District who isn’t affected by the local ag economy. Data provided by the district shows 77 percent of the cost of a new building will be taxed against agricultural property, it begs the question: Why would you bite the hand that feeds you? The ripples from this $42 million splash will be felt throughout the community, whether you are self-employed or hired on, a farmer, retired or otherwise.

History has shown that USC enrollment has declined, in the past five years enrollment has dropped from 800 students to 611. A recent study conducted by USC staff showed that of those 611 students, 17 percent live at or below poverty level, indicating that use has the highest percentage among surrounding school districts.

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The cost of living will continue to rise in the foreseeable future, so is it fiscally responsible to add to the tax burden of residents who struggle in poverty or on fixed incomes? And will future enrollment justify this cost?

If this bond sale occurs, your taxes due for the first bonding year will be based on your 2013 market value, not the 2012 market values being used in calculations provided by Ehlers, the financial consultant firm. The estimate it provides you is for tax that would be due for the construction only. Be sure to add the school taxes you are already being assessed when you take this proposition into consideration. And remember that as the market value of your property changes annually, your tax burden for a new school will also change. Should ag land values drop by half (it’s happened before), residential and business taxes for the construction of a new facility will increase drastically to compensate because a yes vote would mean that the bonds were sold and someone has to pay. Don’t believe that ag land values can fall off? Talk to anyone who farmed in the 1980s.

District voters, you have the rare opportunity to decide for yourself the tax burden you’re willing to bear. Make your voice be heard, exercise your right to refuse this excessive bonding election, vote on Aug. 14.

 LuAnn Schrader