Fairfield-Suisun’s school board heard last month from a consultant on a possible parcel tax. This tax will be used to fund programs that were curtailed when budgets got tight during the past couple of years. It will be paid by property owners within the district’s boundaries.
Step One of the campaign is to see if there’s support for the tax. The school district has hired a company to survey at least 400 households, at a cost of $15,000 to $20,000. The survey is being done by phone. In case you get that phone call, here are things to think about now.
First, look at your current property tax statement. Do you want another $50 to $100 added to what you’re already paying? If you rent, don’t think you’re escaping. Your landlord is going to put his tax increase into your rent.
Second, look at what the district wants to do with the new revenue. It’s sure to be quite a wish list. Should taxpayers be tapped again, for some things that benefit a few students and teachers, and some that ought to be done elsewhere?
Third, one trustee opined that seniors might be exempted from the tax; that might encourage them to vote for the tax. Maybe. But wise seniors understand that they’ll just be pushing the tax onto their children, grandchildren and their younger neighbors.
Let’s talk about real solutions to this perpetual money crunch.
One – and the best – is for the state to stop confiscating our dollars. Years ago, it promised to take care of our schools – and roads and police, for those old enough to remember – if we gave them the taxes. It’s never fully kept those promises; that’s why we keep doing this tax dance. We need to reverse course. Let us keep our money and we’ll take care of our own schools and roads.
Two, let’s get real about wages and benefits. Here, as in most liberal states, employee compensation is driving governments into insolvency. Every study on compensation puts California’s government workers among the highest-paid in the nation. Many, especially high-up administrators, are paid far more than their contemporaries in private industry or the military. Citizens have to tell elected officials, “Stop rubber-stamping those increases and consider what you’re doing to the rest of us.”
Think about all this . . . before the phone rings.
John Takeuchi is a resident of Fairfield and president of the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group. Reach him at John Takeuchi firstname.lastname@example.org.