I understand when people vote for their self-interest over the common good. However, it really makes me sad when people vote against both.
Today I believe I voted for both my self-interest and the common good. It’s nice when they line up like that.
There was only one item on the ballot. Muncie City schools are struggling and have to pass a referendum to increase property taxes to keep the buses running next year. I voted YES for the raise.
My taxes will go up somewhere between $70-$150/year at the most if it passes. If it doesn’t, I figure living in a school district that doesn’t offer busing will cause my home value to drop significantly more than that. Also, I’ll have a daughter in school next year, and where is she supposed to learn to fight and cuss if she doesn’t ride the bus?
The Common Good
The Indiana State government passed a property tax cap in 2010. Homeowners’ property taxes can’t exceed 1% of their home’s value. This significantly cut funding to the schools. The city schools are facing consolidation. Open enrollment and vouchers have led to students fleeing to other schools in the city and county. I expect this exodus would only increase if their are no buses. If you have to drive your kid to school, why not just drive them to a better performing school?
Three-fourths of students in Muncie City Schools are on free lunches. How is a working parent, in poverty or not, able to find the time, let alone the extra money, to pick up their kids from school? Most jobs don’t end at 3 in the afternoon.
I have a friend (retired, without kids) who is going to vote NO. He’s not a bad person. He believes that if it doesn’t pass the school will trim the fat from the bus budget and still find some way to keep them going. I haven’t read a single reported story in the local paper that foresees this, but if he’s right, we’d still live in a school district with buses and our taxes wouldn’t go up. At that point, I would thank him for his NO vote, take him out for a $45 steak and still be money ahead.
However, I’d rather not risk it. It’s a documented fact that the schools are strapped for money. So, I voted “YES, please raise my taxes to protect my home value and our kids.”