A “yes” vote on the school sales tax may sound like a reasonable notion if you thought no further than the here and now.
It could take some of the burden off property owners, but for how long? Only one school in Fayette County has publically announced that it would lower property taxes if passed by the voters.
If all districts were on board for lowering property taxes, realistically, could the reduced property taxes last?
Would it be a stretch to think our state government would change the law, making it easier for schools to ask for more than 1 percent?
Without significant reforms and relief from state mandates, is a measureable reduction in property taxes even possible?
Once a tax is voted in it is very difficult to undo. Most taxpayers understand that we need to pay taxes but to add a new tax without any reforms, given the state of affairs that Illinois is in, doesn’t make sense.
One of the purposes for this tax is so it can be used toward repairs and renovations of schools, but these renovations already cost the taxpayer on average 40 percent more because of the prevailing wage law.
Some other areas to reform before proposing a new tax: inflated administrative cost; growth of unfunded pension cost; and reining in the unlimited collective bargaining power.
Illinois is one of the only states that have little to no limits on items that are subject to collective bargaining.
District consolidations also need to be part of the conversation.
The education system does not need more tax money; we spend far more per pupil on education than any state around us.
Administrators and school officials need to use their strong lobbying power and influence on reforming our children’s education system in a manner that is sustainable and ensures that classroom funding is prioritized.
Continuing to come back to the already overtaxed taxpayer wanting more money with no guarantees of sustainable reform is not good policy; it is more of the same.