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Letter: Seniors have earned a right to exempt Hall school taxes
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I read with interest the article in Friday’s edition concerning the school tax exemptions and Nath Morris’ and Brian Sloan’s views on the school tax exemptions for seniors. What particularly bothered me was Mr. Sloan’s flippant statement, that seniors can afford to pay and should do so, something myself and many other seniors take exception to. I’d like to remind him of a few things he seems to have overlooked or just chose to ignore. 

First, most seniors do not have children in school and therefore do not overburden the school systems with students. His reckless statement is paramount to the premise upon which we fought for our freedom in 1776, “Taxation without representation” or to rephrase it, “Taxation without utilization.”

That’s right, seniors don’t use the school system, but he wants us to pay for something we don’t use. However, what we do is volunteer! In our community there are many residents who volunteer in programs such as Center Point or Stand-Up for Kids, programs where these seniors unselfishly give their time to mentor and work with students in local schools.

Second, he assumes that seniors can afford to pay these taxes. Most of us can’t! I retired in 2015 at the age of 69 and immediately saw my income drop 66 percent, and I along with many seniors live on a fixed retirement income. While I worked and had children in school, I paid my taxes. After my sons went off to college, graduated and began their careers, I paid my school taxes for another 20 years until I turned 70, even though I did not utilize the school system. I’m sure most other seniors did the same thing.

Third, there is obviously an inequitable and unfair tax burden put on all homeowners who may have one or two children in school as opposed to apartment dwellers who might have three or four children in school but who pay zero school taxes. Taxation on apartment owners is disproportionate as compared to homeowners. If I owned an apartment complex of 50 units, my taxes would not cover the burden their residents place on the school system.

How can this problem be solved or should we as Mr. Sloan proposes, shift the burden back to seniors?

What we seniors can do, is vote and you can bet that come election day if Mr. Morris or Mr. Sloan’s names are on the ballot, we’ll vote for their opponent.

Douglas Geganto

Gainesville

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