Monday, November 11, 2019

Ask the Narrator: Taxes for Education

"I'm sick of paying for everyone else's kids to go to school. Why can't people without children pay smaller amounts of school tax than people with children?"

Ask The Narrator

Because you’re not paying for a child to go to school. You are paying taxes in a town, and that town is funding a school for any child who lives in the district. You aren’t driving on every road the town maintains, nor using all of the services available, or even paying all that much and you may have children in that district someday.

Mostly, you are living in a civilized society and that society believes that every child deserves an education.

Some numbers. I pay about $3000 per year on my property taxes for education. I will probably pay those taxes from age 24 - 64 (after that, education taxes are minimal or zero) - so a total contribution of $120,000, which sounds like a lot but it's over 40 years. However, the town guarantees an education to any child … all of mine, any step children, foster children, grandchildren if the kids get in trouble and can’t take care of them, children of relatives if we all want them to be in a better school system, immigrant children if we decide to sponsor them, … each one costing about $15,000 per year. And that’s just my household. Homeless or orphaned, single parent or two, black or white or something in between, disabled or genius or both or neither, athlete or nerd.

My lifetime taxes pay for one child, K-9th grade. Cheap at the price.

It’s just like buying home insurance that you never used because your house never burns down ... but you bought it anyway.

Then, we have the argument that "I don't want my kids to go to public school ... why can't I spend MY money the way I want to? Gimme a full-tuition voucher to a private school."

Because it isn't your money. You don't get to contribute $3000 per year and get a check for $30,000 to send your two kids to Catholic School. And, as above, that tax money is being used by the town to provide an inexpensive education for its citizens. If you don't want to take advantage of that offer, that's fine, but you don't then get to demand they pay for your whims.

If your local school sucks, perhaps you might consider helping to change it and fix it instead of selfishly trying to destroy it with no replacement.

1 comment:

  1. I saw an article or meme once that compared this to expecting that the tax money that goes to public parks should be given to you so you can pay for membership to a private club or park. It shows the absurdity.