We have been dragged along now through four of these tax programs until now I think we might be numb to what an E-SPLOST actually is. It is a tax — yep, that simple, a tax.
Now it seems to be a never-ending tax. The name E — education — and then SPLOST — Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax — is a little misleading, since we no longer do this for “special purposes.” It’s used now to pad the budget every year for things not otherwise approved in the general budget, which is already huge.
We are told this is the most fair and even that up to 30 percent of the money is from outsiders coming here to shop. Really? Does anyone believe that of the $68 million the school system hopes to gain in this one that outside shoppers will make up over 22 million? Hardly anyone from LaGrange even shops in LaGrange.
Then taxpayers are warned that if we don’t pass the E-SPLOST those of us who own property and already pay school taxes will have a tax increase. No one mentions the third option: the school system operates on its approved budget and we don’t spend huge amounts of money on consulting firms, un-needed buildings and outdoor eating areas.
We don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that all older school buildings should be torn down, which is expensive in itself, but look to use them. Then we don’t need new buildings, which contracts don’t seem to be won by local companies anyway.
We are told we “must do this for the children.” We should focus instead on initiatives allowing teachers to control the classroom.
We deliver children who are highly educated and not taught to the test so the scores submitted to the state look good for the school administration. Children who can have an intelligent conversation in any setting. We don’t allow unruly children to hijack the education of all the others. They can comply or be removed from the system. Not the system’s problem with what to do with them. That responsibility should be placed directly on the parents.
We have to stop this never-ending tax or rename it the NE-SPLOST — never-ending SPLOST — so at least its acronym is truthful.