obody likes to pay taxes, but they serve a necessary, and often useful, function.
Recently, New Albany Superintendent of Schools Lance Evans presented the idea of a one-percent sales tax on everything sold in the city. The return from the state would be split evenly between the city and city school district with the school’s portion going specifically for technology.
A possible objection is that, although it would be paid by both city and county people (and tourists and other visitors), only the city and city schools would benefit – not the county.
On the other hand, because someone dropped the ball when setting up the agreement, now only Union County schools receive money from the considerable Toyota Educational Endowment – not the city schools. That isn’t fair, either.
It might be possible to split such a tax revenue between city and county school districts or divide it proportionately according to the respective number of students in each district.
While a new one-percent tax would raise the rate to eight percent on most items and 10 percent on food prepared on site, lodging and entertainment (through the two-percent tourism tax) it would not represent much of an increase. One would have to buy in the neighborhood of 2,000 Big Macs for the one-percent tax to total $100.
But city officials note that since the New Albany schools are asking for a four-percent increase in their budget, that would amount to two different school tax increases at the same time. And, historically, the city board has not been receptive to any tax increase.
Based on last year’s sales tax returns to the city, a one-percent tax would bring in about $475,000. Half of that – about $237,500 – would compare favorably to the $182,734 in MAEP fundsing cut by the legislature for New Albany schools for this year alone, if the tax were enacted.
With the cuts, the Republican leadership has said that fund recipients would have to learn to “live within their means,” but one gets to a point when living within one’s means equates to doing without. Do you drop English classes from the schools? Math? Science classes? Football?
Of course the question of an additional tax shouldn’t be our problem in the first place.
The problem is in Jackson.
Our Republican-led legislature has shortchanged New Albany schools $9.9 million over the past seven years.
New Albany may have an exceptional school system but we can’t continue to improve, or perhaps even maintain the current level, in the face of such continuing cuts.
The money needs to come from somewhere and it appears local tax may be the only realistic source.
That’s unless we get rid of a legislature and leadership who have not lived up to their promise to fund education, or unless they try harder to do better.