Sunday, April 10, 2011

I Have A Dilemma

It's the same question I ask myself every time election rolls around. Do I want to pay more taxes? Or rather, do I want to pay more taxes if it will help our schools?  In general, I never want to pay higher taxes than I already am; whether it be my property taxes, which are a whopping $4000 a year, (I know, some of you may be wishing that was ALL you paid), or our business taxes, and, being self employed, we are taxed so high.  I won't even go into how much we pay monthly and quarterly, but it's up there, that's for sure.  But, I will say, being self employed was a choice, one that we don't regret (so far), and knew it wouldn't be cheap to run either.  

I thought, years ago, that the lottery was supposed to "save the schools".  And it seems that every year, there is some sort of measure on the ballot to, once again, "save our schools", and of course, this money will be tacked on to our already high property taxes.  Last year it was measure 66 & 67, and all in the name of saving schools. I will freely admit, I voted no on that measure.  Quite frankly, I'm pretty tired of the guilt trip being laid on me if I don't vote for it, as if I'm some sort of school hater. HELLO, I send my children to public schools, I don't hate them. But what I do dislike, immensely, is the gobbledy gook that is being thrown at me that it's all for the children, all for the teacher, and that we somehow don't care about either one of them if we DO vote no.  Has anyone ever bothered to campaign for ME and MY ALREADY HIGH PROPERTY TAXES?  Nope, not that I can tell.  I don't vote based on my emotions, which is exactly what they want, I vote with my brain. 

Now, I understand, that the state measures are controlled by those great folks we put into office in Salem, and that we are supposed to trust them to allocate the money to our schools.  But, it sure seems like they've done a pretty crummy job of doing so.  After all the measures that are passed, WHY ARE WE STILL NEEDING TO PASS MEASURE AFTER MEASURE AFTER MEASURE?  Sometimes I feel like these people think I'm wearing a post it on my forehead that says "stupid".  Well, I'm not.  I'm just plain mad that this problem still exists, and that we folks here at home try to live within budgets, but far be it for me to ever expect our state, let alone our federal government, to live within one. Oh, that's a blog post for another day.

So here we are again.  It's my Sabbath Day, and the phone rings.... it's a phone call from a teacher at the kid's elementary school asking for us to vote yes on the next ballot, in May, for a tax increase to allow 2 weeks of school to stay, instead of having to lose them... and, "can we count on your yes vote?".  Well, to tell you truth, I say, I'm not sure at the moment.  She proceeds to tell me, after I asked her what happened to the supposed money from measure 66&67, that this is strictly a local measure that will go directly to OC schools, and that it would only be $1.09 per $1000 of your assessed value of your house.  Okay, so after I've done the math, that is an added $400+ a year tacked on to my property taxes.  To be quite honest, I'm not sure WHAT to do.  I will either be labeled as someone who doesn't care about the children or the schools, if I vote no, or, I vote yes, and brace myself for even higher taxes.  DOES ANYONE REMEMBER THE ECONOMY WE ARE LIVING IN AT THE MOMENT? Do I think it's fair that only home owners are the one's paying for this? Not at all!! And you SAY this is going directly to the schools, but what about next year? What will the reason be then?  I don't know who to believe anymore.
John and I agree, we'd love to see teachers get paid $100,000 a year.  I love, for the most part, the teachers at our school. They are very hard working and I can tell, again, for the most part, love their job.  We have a great PTA. I'm not crazy about some of the new programs that have been implemented, but I try to fill the gap at home.  What I DON'T like, is the decision I have to make EVERY SINGLE YEAR, about this topic.  Our taxes get higher and higher every year, all in the name schools, and to no avail..... they still need money. How much am I expected to give? How many times am I going to be told the same old story?  The money out of my pocket, does not grow on trees, amazingly enough.  It does not come out of thin air, and it's not stashed away in some office, like Obama's.  

So I'm just looking for advice, comments, anything, what is your opinion? What do I do?


  1. We have had similar things in the past and right now. Bond overrides, tax hikes. Some of them in the name of "temporary" which we all know there is no such thing. We have voted no. Will my kids lose out on music, art and PE at school? I guess I will find out next year but in all honesty the only one I will miss as far as elementary school is PE. I pay for piano lessons and I am positive they get a better music program in Primary than from the lady at our school. I also have access to a local art program if I feel the need. Is it sad teachers will lose jobs? In some cases, yes it is. In others I have to wonder how they got those jobs in the first place. Is it harming my child to have 30 kids in the class as opposed to 28? Probably not. I've had a child who floundered in a class of 10 and flourished in a class of 26. It's the TEACHER not the class size. Yes, it all pulls at your heart strings. It is also infuriating when they talk to the children about it at school and your child comes home worried about not having PE anymore. But all in all - let's say it together "no new taxes!" Or, quit raising it and figure out why the money you have isn't being used effectively!

  2. Sandy, I completely agree with you about the class sizes, the teachers, etc.. We lost PE this year, which is very sad. I could totally do without music that is for sure. And you are right, the state officials and the school admins. are the one's that need to figure out how to spend the money, instead of raising our taxes.

  3. Is this because Oregon doesn't have a sales tax? Not that I think there should be more taxes, but that way the burden gets shared to everyone, not just home owners, right? Imagine the elderly on a fixed income with really no children in school.

    I don't have children in school, but I do know that I share in the responsibility of making sure children get a good education, because it helps to make sure my community and society as a whole are better. But that doesn't make sense that in Oregon it relies solely on the home owners. But wondering if Oregon did institute a sales tax if they would then leave alone the property taxes, or if the property taxes will just continue to rise. Hard to say on that one.

    I wouldn't be too keen on the Sabbath phone call about this. Can't believe that happened.

  4. We almost always vote no on raising taxes. They say it's for a temporary thing and then it becomes permanent. Eventually they are taking larger and larger portions of money and still complaining that they don't have enough.

    When I got a $26 bill for a ten page, black and white, paperback book, with approximately twenty words written in it, that was supposedly lost at school (it turned up in the wrong box, thankfully), I started to wonder how they were spending our money. I can teach my kids to read with Dr. Seuss books and they only cost $5. I want to see the schools working on ways to cut those costs down before I give them more money out of my pocket.

  5. I hear you, Shelly, even though at the time we are renting. Renters do basically pay for taxes, it's all part of the price of rent so that there can be a profit for the landlord in the end...although in this economy, there are a lot of landlords not raising rent when taxes go up, since they just want to keep from losing the property. You've probably seen a lot of the mess just north of us (wisconsin) and believe me, sales tax is not the answer....we still are asked to vote on referendums to help the schools with property tax hikes even though we have almost 7% sales tax. What I really don't like is that so many rich communities have children that go without, and other children go without.

  6. It's difficult because I too, want our teachers to be paid more. But we give our government plenty of money to run, and they just cannot seem to stick to a budget. The only way to communicate this is to stop giving them money. I'm sorry our schools are caught in the middle; I wish they weren't. But I sleep better at night knowing that I vote the way I do. :)