We would like to give a forum for others in the community to express their opinions on issues facing Lake County citizens.
Here is a thoughtful response from a Painesville Township resident regarding real estate taxes and schools:
I believe that the Ohio Supreme Court decision that the use of property taxes to raise revenue for school districts is unconstitutional is akin to the Dred Scott and the Roe v Wade decisions. The decision is much more political than it is constitutional. It is basically redistributionist in its basis because, as I understand it, not all school districts in Ohio are equally funded.
The issue is not so much the method by which the tax dollars are collected as it is the total cost for educating our children. That cost is exorbitant. It is largely driven by the teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.
The property tax is a means by which all who live in a community (or in some cases who own property in the community and rent or lease it) share in the cost of education for the community’s children. Some pay this directly in the form of the property tax. Others pay it indirectly, either via an escrow account or by paying rent/lease which has built into it the property tax.
What are the other means by which this revenue could be collected? Income tax, either state or local, or sales tax. I would strongly oppose any taxation that results in the money going to an entity outside the school district, such as the state, who will then determine how much goes back to the school district. This leads to redistribution. So that eliminates a state income tax.
I don’t know that a local income tax would work as it is currently something that townships don’t seem to have as an option. Of course, if it were available, how would it work? Would the money stay in the district in which one lives or in the district in which one works? Or does the money get split? In this case, the school districts containing the higher levels of manufacturing or service would benefit the most. Rural areas would have difficulty.
The sales tax has similar issues. Does the money stay in the district in which it was spent? That would be the only viable way to do it without adding an undue burden for businesses to manage data about the district of consumers.
The property tax is the most straightforward means by which to pay for schools if taxing is to be the means for it. It ensures that everyone in the community participates. And the community has to approve increases via the ballot box.
If the same amount of tax revenue needs to be collected, regardless of the method by which it is collected, the income tax would be a method which could spare senior citizens if the income tax doesn’t consider social security and other non-earned income as income. Then the burden formerly taken by senior citizens is shifted to those with earned income.
If the tax revenue is to be raised via a sales tax, what items would be taxed? And how much would the sales tax need to be increased? If it covers all sales items, this does not relieve the burden on seniors. It may actually hurt them more depending on the sales items to be taxed.
I am afraid that if you get on the property tax being unconstitutional as a means of paying for public education bandwagon, you are also linking yourself to the progressive movement in this regard.
(Comment: I know this is radical thinking, but it would be cheaper for the State to give parents$10,000 for each child and have the free market provide the means of education. State education leads to indoctrination.)