Concerning the issue of senior exemptions to the property tax that supports schools, I’d like to note that I am single and childless, and also do not personally “use” the school system, but I have paid taxes to support that system in Gainesville and Hall County for the past 15 years.
The reason I do not mind paying is that I am an adult and that is one of the responsibilities of being a citizen and a grown-up. The idea that people without children do not use the school system is foolish. Schooling the next generation is a responsibility of all citizens. In return, we receive a community in which everyone’s children have a chance to contribute to the greater good.
Think of it this way: All too often, I hear conservatives criticizing the poor for the “choices” they have made. If we do not support schools properly, those choices are being made for them already. We don’t want to live in a community where a large number of people do not have any way to make a living in a legal manner, or to exercise the role of citizen in a responsible manner.
The fact that such things already happen are manifest evidence that we are not supporting schools as they need to be supported. It is also true that seniors who paid taxes to support schools when their children were enrolled very likely did not at any time pay in taxes the full per-pupil cost to educate all of their children. You all had help from others, and paying that forward is the responsible thing to do.
There are a great many things I pay taxes to support and do not personally use, but on the balance most of those things are of benefit somewhere in my community, state or nation. That’s why each individual person is expected to pay for more than just what they use, because we all live in a nation and our well-being is tied to the good of every other citizen. One does not “earn” the right to shirk the responsibilities of citizenship.
I would hope that at the very least the education of the generation we expect to take care of us when we can no longer do so ourselves would be a noncontroversial and accepted good.
Bryan P. Sorohan