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This morning, I roused my daughter early for school so we could vote before class. I had to explain the reason is that we have never missed an election since we moved here 11 years ago. Though I am not eligible for Social Security for 10 years, we can match any AARP member's voting record, and that puts a target on our home phone number.
Grace likes going to the polls with me but hates all the robo calls we get asking for our vote; this time we actually got a couple of live calls from the candidates' families. Every one of those calls included either a commitment to low taxes or more tax cuts. I had to cut off one of the live readers in mid-script when she got to that line. There is no way I can vote for someone who thinks we need tax cuts right now.
I read that the tax digest for the county came in $138 million lower and that Hall County schools will be looking at deeper cuts. I have sat through many county commission and city council meetings through the years and our elected officials were always proud to note that they were holding the millage rate steady, which was only because of growth and property values raising.
I have become very frustrated with our state government's inability to provide basic services because they are beholden to Washington special-interest groups, and having to get any legislation blessed by Grover Norquist because of some idiotic pledge these politicians make to get elected. Let him sit in metro Atlanta traffic every day and then tell me we do not need taxes for transportation improvements.
But I digress. Our Hall County schools are not some bloated ivory tower of dubious study.
State colleges may have gotten fat on Hope Scholarship funds but that is not the case with our schools. When Martin Elementary opened at the end of the longest economic expansion this country has ever enjoyed, there was no playground. The two pads were not even capable of supporting plant life other than some weeds.
The new high school has twin gymnasiums but is on a road that looks like a Third World country in the morning as parents cross traffic to line up the wrong way in the teachers' parking lot entrance.
There is not only no fat in the construction budget, but they are regularly cutting corners I find hard-pressed to accept.
I have visited several schools as an adviser on technical training and have never noticed more personnel than necessary for the education and security needs of our children.
While I understand that lightning may strike me dead for putting this in writing, I submit to my fellow Hall County residents that we need to demand not only better facilities but also the taxes sufficient to operate a system to prepare our children to understand the importance of voting.