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I sympathize with Bill Finnick's concerns about the financial difficulties our schools are facing. ("Low taxes mean less money for roads, schools, May 13). But I don't share his enthusiasm for higher taxes.
Families and businesses continue to suffer in this economy, so government-funded agencies and entities, including schools, suffer as well. Unfortunately, the troubles are acute for schools since they rely so heavily on property taxes.
When it comes to taxes and spending, we need look beyond any immediate problems to the bigger picture. With schools and education being a clear-cut priority, we must consider how we can best fund them and other essential government services over the long term.
First, we need more revenue, not higher taxes. Second, education would be in better shape if tax money went only for essential services — properly limited government — not for an increasingly wide range of things government should not be doing.
Mr. Finnick's solution of raising taxes is not a solution at all. What states have suffered the most through this economic downturn? The high tax states: California, Pennsylvania, Michigan and New York. High taxes produced higher, reckless spending and raised calls for still higher taxes. Jobs and unemployed workers are fleeing these states.
Mr. Finnick notes in his letter that, "When Martin Elementary opened at the end of the longest economic expansion this country has ever enjoyed, there was no playground." I'm glad he mentioned that long economic expansion, which helped build that school in the first place. That expansion was not driven by higher taxes; it began and progressed over the years due to President Reagan's initial tax cuts. These cuts produced new opportunities for individuals, greater collective prosperity and built more schools and roads.
The continued expansion of government into health care and other areas of our life will make it increasingly difficult for Georgians to spend money on the services we choose. It is a consensus that Obamacare is a job-killing machine. We're now threatened with "cap and trade," which will aggravate the problems further when the full force of Obamacare begins to hammer our budget here in Georgia.
High taxes and uncontrolled government spending limits what we can spend on essential services. History has proven: Lower taxes produce economic expansion.