It would be appealing to believe that the move that is already underway in Cherokee — located south of Pittsburg, in southeast Kansas — and that is rumored elsewhere in the state, is NOT being done to try to get local taxpayers angry at state officials.
It would be appealing, even if it is doubtful.
In Cherokee they are trying to float an increase of almost 2 mills to the local property tax levy to raise money for the school district. It is being done to make up for the state cuts — though it won’t do anything of the sort.
As the Associated Press has reported: “Cherokee district superintendent Glenn Fortmayer says the proposed 1.88 mill increase would raise about $54,000.
“That money would be used to partially offset a cut of about $274,000 in state aid next year.
“The district’s board of education is expected to vote at its June 13 meeting to mail ballots to about 2,800 registered voters in the district.”
So we move to increase local taxes in our state, taxes on our homes and other property, to make up for state officials finally realizing they can’t just keep on writing bad checks. And in this case, the taxpayers will make up $54,000 of a $274,000 cut?
At every level of the public sector, the lesson that was learned in the 1980s in the private sector needs to be adopted. There is no choice but to do more with less.
In benevolent circles, that attrition came by not filling the openings that open periodically in every business. But the same work gets passed around fewer people.
Local governments — and to be fair, our schools, too — have faced this reality for years, and some have done remarkably well in the transition. And we should recognize that transition has been no less painful for these public agencies than it was for private business — than it, frankly, continues to be for most private businesses.
And in the public or private sector, those entities that react creatively will be the ones we see succeed in the years to come, just as they have been in the years past.
— Chuck Smith