WHY? State coffers are empty, and the federal stimulus isn’t enough to compensate. Education doesn’t have to bear the brunt, however. Nonetheless, that is what voters across the nation are choosing. Local communities could offset the lack of state and federal support of education. But that’s not happening. Voters in my area, for example, nixed a countywide proposal to increase a millage that would have supported schools. And, now, the projected deficit is at the high end of the various budget scenarios considered. The millage would have raised taxes—not by much.The revenue, though, would have helped immensely.
So why did voters turn it down? It’s a matter of misplaced control. We are victims of the bad economy—we didn’t cause it, and we are powerless to do anything about it. We can’t control the real estate market as property values plummet. We get laid off involuntarily. We can’t find jobs. We don’t have health insurance and we can’t do much about it. We pay the prices charged in stores and at the pump. We are price takers, not makers. So much of our fates are determined by forces far larger than we are, far beyond our control—or even our ken. Yes, we can use the ballot box to register our preferences, but elections are spaced far apart, and those we put in office don’t always do what we want them to do.
BUT … we can vote down a millage increase. That is in our control. That is one of the few things in our control. It’s the one “cost” that we can veto—damn the repercussions on our children. And, it’s damn economic logic—the impacts I listed yesterday will come back to cost any family that wants its children to have more than a stripped-down basic education. Just one example: If the school week is cut to four days, what happens to the kids on the fifth—who takes care of them and what does it cost?
Please, click on “Post a Comment” below and tell us what’s happening in your part of the country.