I do not have children. And, I no longer own a home. On first blush, it would seem that I do not have a dog in the school voucher fight.
Proponents for vouchers make an appealing argument that parental freedom of choice combined with market forces will increase school quality. I reject vouchers out of hand for purely free market and patriotic reasons. I am unequivocally against school vouchers for the most American reason of them all – my own self-interest.
Ten years ago I might have been embarrassed to be so brazen about it. But our society and culture have changed. The modern modus operandi in America today is self-interest.
A few years back, I was married and employed as a banker. My wife and I paid a lot of school taxes to educate other people’s children. I mean a lot. In 2006 the last year I worked full time in banking we paid just over $5,200 in property tax to the local school district. Additionally we were charged a census fee of $15 each and finally a 1% income tax. All together we paid over $7,600 in taxes directly to the Boyertown Regional School District.
Who knows what percentage of my state and federal taxes goes to education and is returned to the district? The point is 3% of our gross income went to educate other people’s children. Most folks receive federal, state and local deductions for having children. My wife and I we’re penalized for our decision not to have children.
Now I accept in an indefinable but intrinsic way I benefit from an educated populace. Truth is I am happy to help pay for public education as opposed to many other uses of my tax dollars.
Now the “but” and it’s a big one.
What I do get for my school tax dollar is in the value of my largest asset, my home. Study after study has shown that the quality of the school district you live in has a considerable impact on your house’s value. Not only does the school district impact the value it can help lessen the impact of a bad economy like we have now. Houses in desirable school districts still sell, have lower foreclosure rates and have better maintained their value from the peak.
Many factors go into the value of any house. Studies have shown the school district alone can have a positive impact on value as much as twenty percent for excellent schools and ten percent for good schools.
My self-interest wants every single one of my tax dollars to stay in my local school district, period! Does any one really believe that a voucher system won’t increase either the direct school taxes or your state taxes to fund it?
I really do not care about a parent’s freedom of education choice. My free market approach is if you can afford private schools good for you.
I am not going to subsidize private school tuition for those that can or cannot afford it. If I want my money to go to a faith-based school I will donate it. If I want my money to got to a for profit education company I will invest in it. If I feel a charter school is worthy of support I will write a check.
I subscribe to a common sense, fiscally conservative argument approach to school vouchers. I am not interested in limiting my financial freedom in exchange for a liberal or conservative agenda.
When you tax three percent of my income and transport it outside of my local school district, you are transferring my wealth with out my consent. When you take tax dollars away from my local school district you are attacking the intrinsic value of my largest asset.
How is that freedom?
How is this the American way?
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