• 46°

Opposed to recallable property tax increase for schools

I am “the woman” who stood up and spoke out at the school board meeting on Dec. 3.

I did not expect to speak, however, by the end of the meeting I felt that I needed to be heard.  Below are some facts I have obtained. Don’t argue with me, call the PVA if you have any questions.

Fact: Approximately 47% of the people in Lincoln County own property.

Fact:  Of the 47% that own property, 20% (or about 9.5%) pay a lower rate due to the homestead exemption and a small percentage (about 1 to 1.5%)  are exempt from paying anything. If you do the math, that means approximately 36% of the property owners are being asked to pay the lion’s share of these taxes.

Fact: In just over 10 years, the school rate has gone from .38 cents per $100 of taxable property to .60 cents — close to doubling.

Those of us who own residential property and are not old enough to claim the homestead exemption are being saddled with the biggest part of the tax burden. Because the Kentucky law/constitution designates that the property owner is the primary “caretaker” of the schools, it seems that many on the board feel that they have the right to implement taxes and that we (the property owners) have the responsibility to pay up. I would not have a problem with that if the rate was lower and 70% or more of the people in this county were helping to carry the load.

The insurance tax which I spoke of at the meeting is an option. Unfortunately, because the county must administer this tax and then allocate the proceeds to the schools this IS NOT a viable option. Seems our county has many areas that are in dire financial need and the chances of an additional county-wide tax that would be allocated specifically for the schools is about zero.

In summary, here is some of my takeaways from Tuesday’s meeting:

Takeaway #1: For the most part, us property owners should just sit down, be quiet and take out our pocketbook.

Takeaway #2: The complete disbelief and attitude of being incensed (by one board member in particular) that people in this county would actually refuse the proposed tax to the point of petitioning against it and acquiring enough signatures to force it onto a ballot for a vote.

Takeaway #3: We (property owners) should be ashamed if we are not willing to pay this tax and “support our community schools.” Because the law says it is our duty and because there’s no other avenues for the schools to obtain funding, we are obligated to pay this increase regardless of the burden it will put on many people.

Nobody likes to pay taxes but I certainly don’t think a few people should be responsible for the entire tax bill. My taxes have steadily gone up and this proposed tax as it stands now would once again increase my tax bill by over $140. I pay federal taxes, state taxes, property taxes, tangible taxes and a profit tax to name a few. The latter three all to Lincoln County. I, for one, am relieved that this regurgitated proposed tax will be going for a vote. I will abide by whatever the voters decide but am glad I get to make my opinion known. I am most definitely against this tax, which is placed on only a small percent of local property owners.

 

Barbara K. Hodges

Waynesburg