I read your Sunday front page article on tax revenue loss for schools with a sense of great disappointment in my fellow senior citizens. Certainly at age 70 or possibly earlier, individuals with limited income, less than $35,000 or possibly $50,000 should be able to be exempt from school taxes. For the rest of us more fortunate seniors, I believe it our responsibility and civic duty to continue to pay school taxes.
No, we senior citizens do not have children in public schools; however, we very well may have grandchildren or great grandchildren in public schools somewhere. Even if we do not, someone paid taxes for our education. More importantly, it is to our advantage to have a well-educated populace. If local schools are not highly rated, new businesses will not come to the area; new professional people, i.e. doctors, nurses, other health providers, lawyers, etc., will locate elsewhere. Where would EMTs, firemen, policemen, clerks at local stores be found for employment in our community? An educated populace is a great advantage to all citizens.
Gainesville and Hall County are places people find appealing for retirement. What would happen to that appeal if local schools begin to deteriorate? All these new retirement communities would begin to find it difficult to hire quality people, adequate medical personnel would no longer be readily available, and finally, as residents were dissatisfied with the lack of services, the retirement communities would begin to have high vacancy rates.
When my husband and I turned 70, we had our name added back to the school tax roll. That was a major undertaking. We tried to do it on the phone, then with a faxed notarized letter and finally, it was necessary to go to the tax office. The office did have a hard time believing that we really did want to do that. They said only one commissioner had done that in the past.
More needs to be done to appeal to civic pride and responsibility in discussions of taxation. If one desires services, one either gladly contributes to the general welfare of all or maintains their own police protection, keeps a fire truck and ambulance at the ready and educates those who operate them.
The “cut taxes, cut taxes” mantra is foolhardy and stupid!