Should Americans with No Kids Be Able “Opt-Out” of School Taxes?

by Darwin on September 29, 2011

I was at a family gathering this summer and the usual topic of complaining about the ineptitude of local government officials and school boards came up.  That then led to older participants questioning what their tax dollars were being used for and why they’re even paying school taxes to begin with.  It led to an interesting topic of whether people should really just be taxed on what services and benefits they enjoy as opposed to their zip code and home size.    There are a few ways to look at it.

A Question of Fairness

For instance, should a couple with no kids pay the same taxes as a couple with 4 kids in the public school system?  Or what about parents that send their kids to private school?  From the perspective of the people deriving no direct benefit from the local school system, they don’t see the point.  It’s viewed as a school system that’s continually sucking more and more money out of the pockets of taxpayers for seemingly useless expenditures like iPads for students and exorbitant benefits.

 Selective Memory

What was especially ironic about the cries to eradicate school taxes for people who don’t have kids in the school system was the fact that the guy’s last kid had just graduated highschool – public highschool.  How convenient!  I mean, of course, financially, wouldn’t it be great if we all got to pay public school taxes up until the day your kid graduates and then you just stop paying?!  Timing is everything; it’s all or nothing.  It’s kind of like, well, Obamacare where you can forgo having real health insurance and pay a nominal fee until you get real sick or develop a chronic issue, then just sign up.  It doesn’t work right that way, human nature is too opportunistic.

 It Just HAS To Be This Way

In a society where we want kids to have a future (which, in turn ultimately pay for the same seniors often slamming school taxes), where we expect people to have certain services and society to function the way we expect, we will always need to pay for some things we don’t need.  I had to pay PMI on my first home even though I’ve never defaulted.  I pay Social Security taxes, disability, Medicare and more even though I will probably see a negative return on my payments for the duration of my employment.  I’ve always paid auto insurance even though I’ve never been responsible for an accident.  There are always going to be those who give and those who take.  But if none of these things existed, we’d live in a much different world – fraught with risk and human suffering where there’s no safety net.  Sometimes, we need to pay for things that benefit us, our children, society, or even things that don’t seem to benefit us even tangentially – because someday down the road, you might actually need it.

You might think I’ve turned bleeding heart or something.  No, I’m just pragmatic.  Just like you can’t “opt out” of insurance, Social Security or other systems we’ve had in place for generations, you can’t opt out of the way we fund public education.  There’s an aggregate amount required to fund schools each year and parents alone can’t bear the burden.  And non-parents benefit in ways they don’t even contemplate.  A vibrant local economy, jobs stemming from the school locale, and a new generation of kids that will pay for their care in old age.

What Are Your Thoughts On School Tax Opt-Out?

 

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Keith September 29, 2011 at 11:23 pm

Agree 110% here. IMHO education is the great equalizer. No matter what someone’s background is (poor vs rich), a quality education is by far the best way you can give someone the opportunity to excel if they are capable and/or want to. I want people who have talents to have the opportunities to succeed regardless of whether or not they happened to be born into the right family. Personally, I am a product of the public school system. My family definitely couldn’t have afforded private school. However, because I got a decent education through the public k12 and college systems, I now have the privilege to pay back several fold in taxes what my education cost. And I’m glad to do it. My taxes are going to pay for the retirement of those people AND the education of the smart kid who is going to fund my retirement.

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Bruce Reply:

@Keith,

You are a fool, as proven by your public edumucation.

Why should I pay for the Escalade-driving neighbor’s kids education while I take the bus and don’t have any children? If you’re more than happy to pay it back x-fold, you can gladly pay my share too.

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Madison Reply:

@Bruce,
You are a fool Kieth, Darwin is right and the escalade-driving neighbors kid might be the one who is happy to pay you back tenfold if he gets a good education. Its like taking the bus(if you pay to ride on it) your taxes have to make up the difference to pay the bus driver and the gas and the repairs and the station and the road and the lights and the police so when you get off you arnt mugged going to work. Also the actual #s that you pay may not even touch a school board.

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Angela Lott Reply:

I agree, I,m 63 dis able senior, never had any children, now I,m struggle to pay school taxes ,not fair, also I think anyone over 50 should be exemptfrom paying school taxes,anyway

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Mike Reply:

@Keith, I’m tired if these people with kids defending with Their Kids needing best education So to do that it has to come from My pocket as a person with No kids.

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Tom Reply:

@Mike, Hear, hear!

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2 PKamp3 October 1, 2011 at 9:31 am

Darwin,

I don’t think your heart started bleeding – the points you make are completely legitimate. Historically there has been public funding for schools in America. I know history and tradition are generally bad justifications for continuing to do something so I came up with two other reasons (I’m sure there are other legitimate arguments for and against).

The military. There are many people in the United States who disagree with the wars and peacekeeping missions that the United States participates in worldwide. It’s a slippery slope – should people who disagree with our foreign policy be able to get a discount on their taxes? I mean, their kids aren’t in the military, generally… It’s a dumb argument, but you can see how you get There from Here.

A more legitimate reason comes from my house shopping experience in the Bay Area. I’ve argued recently that rising home prices are bad for many people in the Real Estate market, but not for people who are staying in the houses they have. People who stay in the houses they own (this analysis does not apply to renters) are generally older empty-nesters quite similar to the demographic you describe who are complaining about public school funding. People who intend to stay in their homes or downsize are helped by real estate price increases… or at least the effect is neutral. In the Bay Area, one of the primary drivers of real estate prices is the quality of the local schools… witness the wild price swings even in a single city like San Jose over slight differences in standardized testing scores(API, in this case). So even though they aren’t directly benefiting from school funding, quality schools indirectly raise their property values.

So, you can see where I stand. I think it’s naive for some of this demographic to complain – since they will be the first to complain about the local real estate market if values start skidding. And I would love to quantify the value of high scores on standardized tests for you – maybe I’ll figure out a good way to do that study and toss something together eventually. You’ve got me thinking…

-Paul

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3 Goner October 1, 2011 at 7:25 pm

How do rising home prices help homeowners who stay in their homes? By “helping” them go into debt more easily?

I own property in Asia – an apartment worth about $150K – taxes are about $100 a year! When I buy in the US in a few years, I hope my property value stays put. I will pay cash and never plan to sell. The only effect a rising home value will have on me will be an excuse for local politicians to pick my pocket even more for their stupid and wasteful spending.

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4 Goner October 1, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Moreover, I have an aunt who has owned her home outright since the 1960s and let me tell you how her rising property value has “helped” her. More than 50% of her pension and SS go simply to pay the property taxes! The county values her house as through she has the money to keep it up, yet they confiscate that money in taxes and so the house naturally isn’t maintained (she’s alone). In this case, taxes are thievery. She pays more in tax to the county then her paid off home could bring in in rent.

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Brenda Reply:

@Goner,
This is a very valid point. Property taxes keep increasing to pay for school wants – many are no longer able to pay the increasing taxes. This puts them at risk for losing their homes. Why should people lose their homes to pay for others kids to go to school?! Why is it just property owners who have to foot the bill anyway? If you want to use taxes to pay for schools than increase the sales tax so that everyone pays.

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Bruce Reply:

@Brenda,

What is it with you people?

How about those with kids pay, and only them. You made the choice, now pay for it. I want to take a trip Brenda – what’s your address so I can send you a bill?

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James Reply:

@Bruce, schools should be supported by all. However, property taxes should be done away with. Goner’s aunt should not be renting her “paid for” property from the state. Property values going up does not put money in your pocket unless you sell. If the property is making money, then tax it. True ownership is a sham if some feudal lord can just send you a bill for having something that you bought and paid for! Tax me on my income or what I buy, not on my possesions, otherwise you’re just a thief. There are so many different taxes. Someone should be able to pull their head out to come up with a different method of supporting schools instead of being lazy saying, “this is how it’s always been”. Didn’t we leave England because of over taxiation?

john ferguson Reply:

@Brenda, l think renters pay property taxes too only indirectly through the property owner.

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5 PKamp3 October 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm

I’ll clarify: in California we have, for better or worse, a law which limits the increase in annual property taxes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Proposition_13_%281978%29 of course, the question is how much does Prop 13 itself increase property values?)

And your aunt very much does benefit from increased property values. Property values are correlated with increased desirability, decreased crime, and all sorts of other side benefits. There are also various ways for her to tap her equity if the tax payments are too much. Regardless, property tax is unavoidable anyway – whether you rent (it is passed on to you from the landlord), own outright, or pay a mortgage. Think about it from another perspective: what would it cost for her to rent the equivalent house?

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DonM Reply:

@PKamp3, Prop 13 in CA has transferred the property tax burden from businesses to residential property. It has increased the value of undertaxed commercial real estate which is normally sold by purchase of the corporation owning the property. By contrast, residential property is taxed when it is sold, and since people move, and don’t live forever like a corporation, that occurs frequently, and tax rates for residential property is adjusted up. Knowing that the tax adjustment will come after purchase decreases the value of owner occupied residential property.

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6 Brandon October 3, 2011 at 1:34 pm

I don’t use all the parks and other services that I pay taxes for, but I am not exempt from those taxes. If the only people to pay taxes on a service (schools, parks, police, etc.) were the people who use the service, the costs would be horrendous.

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Agatha Kulesza Reply:

@Brandon, I agree with you Brandon on all points. Plus the funding to our schools gets cut so much every single year. Can you imagine how much they’d have to cut if only parents paid taxes towards schools?!? I think we all need to share in supporting the youth of this country to have an education.

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Sarah Newman Reply:

@Agatha Kulesza, The youth of this country are progressively growing stupider as each year passes. Why on Earth is it now “socially acceptable” for high school graduates to have little or no grasp on proper spelling and grammar?? And don’t even get me started on the declining cognitive abilities of the younger children.

If our taxes are going to support a system that isn’t even teaching children the utmost basics (how to spell simple words, such as “good”) then I consider that a blatant waste of taxpayer money. I do not have any issue with taxes in general, and would even embrace higher taxes in some areas if that is accompanied by an increase in services for the public good. But if our money is being funneled into a system that isn’t producing results, then I do not see any reason to continue funding it.

So people, either stop having stupid kids, or start teaching them something so that we do not end up in a society entirely reminiscent of “Idiocracy”.

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Bruce Reply:

@Agatha Kulesza,

Maybe if the US stopped bombing other countries and took care of their own, there’d be money for education. Then again Agatha, the public school system is designed to make you to think the way you do – needing big gov and big taxes.

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7 Keith B. October 3, 2011 at 3:07 pm

Well, even if I concede to your “pragmatism” (which I’m not sure I would :-)), it still doesn’t explain why [typically] only *property owners* pay these taxes. If we, as a society, value free education then we, as a society, should *all* share in that financial burden.

It also fails to take into account the private school issue. My brother pays a fortune for his kids to go to private school *and* he has to pay taxes for public education. If we’ve all agreed that education is something we are *all* going to pay for (whether or not we have kids) and then “children” (in general) get the benefit of that, then children in private schools should get that benefit as well, and my brother should receive government assistance for his children’s tuition.

Basically, “public education” and “public *schools*” are two separate issues that people rarely separate. Personally, I am a believer in public education (cost of which paid by *all* taxpayers) but not our dismal public schools. I think that parents should receive government subsidies (you can call them vouchers if it makes you feel better) to pay for their child’s education in *any* appropriately accredited facility.

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Steve Reply:

@Keith B., The argument here is that we all (not just children) benefit for public education. Your brother is benefiting from public educations in ways other than his children getting educated. And we do all pay for that benefit, (including renters as another commenter stated above), even though some pay more than others (which is also true of income and sales taxes – many, but not all taxes in the US and other first-world countries are progressive).

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Keith B. Reply:

@Steve, Yes, but why should his children be discriminated against and not get the benefit just because of the school he’s chosen to put them in?
As to the notion that renters are paying because they pay rent to landlords, that’s a failed argument. If that was true, we’d set up a tax on no one but corporations under the notion that we all pay for that via higher prices for the corporations’ profits.
Finally, having property owners pay taxes and renters not pay taxes is *not* an example of “progressive” taxation. It’s an example of *selective* taxation. The property owner may be far poorer than some renter, yet must pay more. The renter might also be under rent control for the last 20 years while the property owner’s property continues to get reassessed, upping their property taxes. If we all want public education, we should all pay for it.

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PKamp3 Reply:

@Keith B., but it is true that we tax corporations and therefore all pay the higher prices. In fact, the corporate tax, which started in 1909, was a sneaky way to tax the rich (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204422404576594471646927038.html) before the 16th Amendment was ratified.

To say that a renter is paying a landlord’s tax is quite true. It is one of the factors that goes into setting prices, or you would see landlords leaving the market, raising prices and correcting the condition. The equivalent on the owner’s side would be to say that a homeowner’s company of work is paying their mortgage. No, the homeowner’s company doesn’t literally write a check to the bank, but getting a certain salary is one of the inputs for the person to decide to buy a house.

In a theoretical situation where there is rent control and no corresponding property tax break, you’d quickly notice the market change in other ways – two effects would be less maintenance in the rent controlled units and vacancies close to none as landlords leave – sort of like an extreme version of New York City’s current rent control law. It also raises the price of all property since having a rent controlled lease is now an asset, and developers have to factor that in when they buy and rehab a building. (Fascinating read: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/06/realestate/06cov.html?pagewanted=all)

Super Saver Reply:

@Keith B.,

It’s not a question of whether renter’s pay tax. School taxes are generally property taxes, whether the owner lives in the school district or not. Residents of the school district are able to attend school whether they pay taxes or not.

A solution is to make school taxes an income tax. That way older people on retirement income would not need to pay school taxes.

KJ Reply:

@Keith B., I think you miss several important points:

1. Your brother isn’t being discriminated against. Discrimination would be if his children were denied entrance into the public school system. He CHOOSES to place his children in private school. If he wanted to, he could place them in public school free of charge. In the same way, he can CHOOSE to go to the public library, or he can buy all his books in a bookstore. The fact that he prefers Barnes and Noble doesn’t mean the taxpayer should pay for his preference.

2. Which brings me to the role of public schools. Children aren’t guaranteed any education of their choosing. If that were the case, then students who wanted to be pro snow-boarders would be allowed to skip out on a public education and have the taxpayers fund years of training camp. We guarantee children a public education because a) we ideally want as many children as possible to be prepared for self-sufficiency and b) we want our society to have as deep a talent pool as possible to run our businesses, teach in our schools, do research, and lead (among other things). This is why I, who have no children, pay school taxes: because I want my community to have young people who can contribute fully and meaningfully to our society. Like Steve Jobs or Warren Buffett or John Mackey (CEO of Whole Foods), all of whom went through the public school system. Like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. But again, we offer an option that is available to all. Those who opt out (to attend snowboard training camp with a tutor, to attend prep school, or to attend religiously affiliated schools) are choosing not to take advantage of that option, just as one can choose not to go to a public park, not to ride on public transportation, etc. They can always opt back in.

3. It’s not a warm fuzzy to say that we all benefit, including your brother. It is completely possible that your brother’s doctor, his employer or employees, and his children’s teachers all went through public schools at some point. Could your brother afford to put all these people through school if there was no public education system? Or does he rely on the public education system to educate the people he works for and with and those who work for him?

4. There is also the issue of public control. As a taxpayer, if I don’t like the way public schools are run, I can vote for the school board members and politicians I think will bring needed change. I can argue against or for certain kinds of curricula (as Texas so successfully does). I may not get what I want, but I can exert influence regardless of whether I am a parent or not. Yet I have no say in how your brother’s school teaches or what it teaches. If I feel the money is being wasted and the students are not prepared, what exactly can I do about it? Nothing. And that’s a problem for me, as a taxpayer. There are no levers I can pull to exert influence over private institutions, so that the education provided also benefits society, so why should they get my tax dollars? The only answer–and I suspect your brother would object–would be for all schools accepting taxpayer money to allow the taxpayer greater control over the functioning of the school.

5. Finally, I want to return to the idea that non-parents or parents of children in private school should be exempt. If I, as a taxpayer, choose to bike to work, my tax dollars still go to repair the roads. If I take public transportation, same thing. That’s okay, because my food comes in trucks that use those roads. My family visits me by driving on those roads. And if I get hit by a bus, the ambulance will need those roads to carry me to the emergency room. Not all benefits in society are direct, but that doesn’t mean they are nonexistent.

Sorry so wordy.

DonM Reply:

@Keith B., No, renters do not pay property taxes. If the rental property is vacant, the owner doesn’t get his taxes reduced. The tax must be paid whether or not the renter is present.

8 Super Saver October 3, 2011 at 8:28 pm

No tax comes with a guarantee the payee will receive a specific benefit. That includes Social Security taxes. That is the definition of a tax.

The question is whether the service should be funded by the government or not. If yes, then it is funded by a tax. If no, then there shouldn’t be a tax. Unfortunately, people want too many things to be funded by the governement 🙁

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Bruce Reply:

@Super Saver,

Exactly. Get the gov’t out of schools as well as many other things.

Free my ass!

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9 Carl October 4, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Several years ago just after getting married, I was trying to buy maternity insurance from my agent only to find that they didn’t have it. He was a tall, round fellow with a good sense of humor. When I asked him, “why isn’t there maternity insurance in the normal policy?” He said, “Well us old guys don’t want to pay for your babies.” and followed with a loud chuckle, that abruptly stopped when I quickly responded, “well you know us young guys don’t want to pay for your social security!” He didn’t laugh. So I’m ok to pay for my kids education just as long as I don’t have to pay for their retirement!

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bob Reply:

Carl,
You need to check your facts in the state you live in. Teachers in my state do not pay into the S.S. fund they have a Gov’t funded retirement program provided to them via a public sector job. I however working in the private sector without children in school get to pay their union salaries for seven (7) months of work that are at the same levels of pay for someone working like me (11) of the (12) months of the year…

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10 Financial Independence October 7, 2011 at 3:35 am

Only if their opt out of social security. Social security is pay as you go. In order to provide pension for the greedy ones later we need educated people.

If they do not want to pay taxes – fine, let them have no pension later either.

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11 dittoheadla October 8, 2011 at 1:29 pm

As an adult who has endured a couple years of government schools as well as a superior private school, I see realize there is no moving the masses to agree I should not have to contunally pay taxes for those government schools. What I would like to see is a choice! The freedom for me to choose where my taxes are allocated. In other words, my school of choice. I firmly believe is the school voucher system and would like to see the same for those of us without children. I would like to see my taxes to go charter schools for the underpriviliged. Those people are crying for a better opportunity for their children other than government schools. We are all aware a hugh dollar amount of our “school taxes” are going to the NEA unions. This I believe is a waste of MY money. PLEASE give those of us without children the choice of where our school-allocated money will go!

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12 Christine October 13, 2011 at 2:30 am

The argument does not take into consideration the increasing number of American adults who are choosing, as a matter of principle, not to have children . There is merit to the argument that responsible Americans with no children place far less burden on society. Irresponsible parents with multiple children are far too common. It’s understandable how intelligent, responsible adults with no children could come to resent paying more than their fair share of taxes. There is, in fact, great bias set up against unmarried people with no children in American taxation law.

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13 John @ Van Winkle Insurance Group October 15, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I think we all have a duty to raise kids regardless of parents or not. Historically better schools are located in Higher Income cities or municipalities. I would be in favor of a opt selection where adults with no dependents can select specific local schools as beneficiary of taxation.

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DonM Reply:

@John @ Van Winkle Insurance Group, A town next to me is Vernon, CA. Everyone who lives in that town is either a city employee, or a relative of a city employee. The city is ‘exclusively industrial’ with hundreds of businesses, and thousands of employees, thus having a wealthy tax base, low tax rates. Surprise surprise, they have NO SCHOOLS AT ALL.

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14 Tony @ Investorz Blog October 24, 2011 at 9:46 am

I’ll take this a step farther, and say that Americans with kids that go to private schools should be allowed to opt out of school taxes. The education we get in public schools is terrible.

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dittoheadla Reply:

Additionally……….we chose not to have children. We do agree we should invest in the future of our country and the children are part of that future. We all seem to agree there should be an opt-out whether it is for all taxes going to the government schools (we like this) or give ALL people paying taxes into the system a CHOICE. Both are doable!
Remember BHO’s first order of business upon taking office was to do away with the VOUCHER SYSTEM in DC. The underpriviledged in DC appreciated the opportunity to choose freely where their children when to school. Now they are stuck with the poorly run government schools. Let’s hope the CHANGE they got can be reversed!

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15 steven November 8, 2011 at 12:22 am

Wow… really great tips! i like this post very much… Thanks for sharing this information with us…

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16 bob December 21, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I disagree with you when teachers unions and (7) months of “work” equal the privet sectors pay scale of (11) months of work. I do not have a union so why do Gov’t employees have one??? The private sector jobs pay for these Gov’t jobs and now they still need unions to go along with the public sector retirement and health care benefits of which I do not qualify for??? 2/3 plus of my property taxes go to support a school system that I have and never will use and why do renters and section 8’s with all the kids get out Scott free??? Renters will argue it is in the monthly rent unless they are section 8 (aka freeby renters)..Vouchers and the private sector Gov’t plans are also stealing from most states mandated constitutions that isn’t solving the public school funding problems…

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Christine Reply:

@bob,
That’s a ridiculous comment, Bob! Who exactly is it that you think works for 7 months each year and receives the same salary as an 11 month corporate employee? I’m a teacher with two graduate degrees. All teachers in my district officially work 10 months each year and unofficially spend much of their 2 months “off” planning for the next school year. I make 42,000 per year and work with my district’s more severe special needs students. Your comment is knee-jerk anti-teacher and provides no value to this otherwise interesting discussion.

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Christine Reply:

@bob,
Also, since you put teacher “work” in quotes, I would love to see you survive one day in my classroom with high needs students with behavioral challenges. And before you predictably complain about my cushy benefit package, I am single with no kids! There is nothing exorbitant about my benefit package! I will never understand people who attack teachers. It’s not right.

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17 DonM December 23, 2011 at 11:29 am

I homeschool my kids in California, because I care about their future, and the schools in CA are often enablers of perversion, or ‘religious values’ like global warming with which I disagree.

Yet, I still pay school taxes, and get no voucher. The schools do provide a service: They restrict the young hooligans during the day, so my kids are not normally exposed to them and they export millions of poorly educated children against whom my children will have advantages.

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18 jefferson January 23, 2012 at 3:23 pm

an investment in education is investment in the future..

even the childless have to live in that future.

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Bruce Reply:

@jefferson,

And look how much smarter the average American child is these days compared to days gone by. The future’s scary!

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dittoheadla Reply:

@jefferson, Yes, we have seen what the future brought and I think I want to go back to the simple life.

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19 dittoheadla January 23, 2012 at 8:01 pm

We would not mind the investment if it didn’t go to the NEA! That is a waste of my money! We have been dumping money into education of “the children” for many years without “the children” reaping the benefits! It is time we change the way we spend the money!

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20 Pater Non Familias April 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm

Woah Nelly! We are forgetting one little thing here…the kids. Having kids is by choice. If the government is going to give people a tax credit for HAVING kids, then they should also give a BIGGER tax credit for those who NEVER had kids, by choice, like myself.
I can assure you, one thing we have more than enough of is kids. Remember the old musing “The problem with a kitten is that, eventually it becomes a cat”. Now, wonder why gas prices, food prices and everything else in the world is so expensive? It’s because of increased demand from those dang cats.
Oh, and don’t give me that protectionist garbage that children are so precious and a miracle….they’re not. I don’t hate kids, I do hate stupid parents who have kids they can’t take care of without state and federal assistance. I also hate that hormonal urge I often hear from 16 girls to have a “faaaymily”. They say “Oh Becky, I so want to like have a baby”…Becky asks “Why?” and the response is “Oh because they are so cute”. Next thing you know we have one more young parent who can’t afford the reality of raising a child and it falls to the community. Honestly people, at 7 billion and growing fast, we don’t need more cute little kittens. If schools taught more family planning then I wouldn’t have a problem with school taxes, but oh boy, then the religious zealots would be protesting…again.

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dittoheadla Reply:

@Pater Non Familias, Good point!!! Those of us without kids are not draining the system by adding to it’s population which affects not only the schools; but hospitals and emergency services! We should start knocking ont he legislators’ doors demanding a TAX CREDIT!!!

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Dee Reply:

I’m mid 60’s and alone, and my school taxes were more than all my other taxes put together – and I have never had children. There is something wrong with that. The analogy of car insurance is wrong, as you are buying a policy IN CASE something happens. I don’t care to fund iPads when I had no say in kids getting these toys. I did just fine with paper and pencil when I was in school. Now kids can’t seem to function without some kind of toy game.

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21 Pater Non Familias April 2, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I forgot to provide an example….my loser neighbor who doesn’t work yet has a bunch of kids. I just was checking my county tax records to be sure our taxes were properly credited to our account and I see he again has not paid his property taxes. THAT’s what I’m talking about! His buddy across the street is an immigrant and he just had a kid two years ago…guess what? He hasn’t paid his property taxes either.

So, it’s like the Jerry Newman’s of the auto insurance industry, we all pay for the idiots who repeatedly screw up and think it’s funny. It’s not.

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dittoheadla Reply:

@Pater Non Familias, Pater Non Familias, we agree with you on getting a tax credit for NOT having kids. We don’t have any and are probably more politically informed then most families on our block. Those of us “w/o kids need to pounch on our legislators and voice our concerns.

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dittoheadla Reply:

@Pater Non Familias, Pater Non Familias, we agree with you on getting a tax credit for NOT having kids. We don’t have any and are probably more politically informed then most families on our block. Those of us “w/o kids need to pounce on our legislators and voice our concerns.

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22 Paul June 10, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I am 58 years old and have no kids why should I pay taxes to pay for mistakes, I could not care less about educating your kid this is your problem NOT MINE DAMN THE US GOVT for making me pay for you bumping uglies.

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Misty Reply:

I SO agree with you. I have no kids, and never will. Why do I have to pay for everyone else’s kids? And even if I DID have a kid, I would home school them rather than send them to a government school that indoctrinates them.

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23 Jenna June 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

Your argument in favor of everyone paying school taxes completely overlooks someone like me who has no children and NEVER had any children. And while I could be regarded as “older” as you put it (I’m 58), that is irrelevant as even when I was “younger” I still was childless. And your comparison to auto insurance is ridiculous–even though you’ve never had an accident, you certainly COULD, whereas for reasons I won’t elaborate on, it’s physically impossible for me to bear a child; nor would I ever want to. You haven’t convinced me…

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24 Rich June 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm

No kids in school, then no more school tax.
Why is school tax forever?
I have no kids and never attended public schools, so get your school taxes off my house.
American’s do not own their house, they rent it from the school board. That makes us a nation of serfs to the school board.

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Bruce Reply:

@Rich,

Thank you Rich. At least someone’s ‘awake’.

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25 veronica July 3, 2012 at 12:40 am

I agree with Rich why should I have to pay for a child to go to our public school when they are renting in that district? I realize the apt. owners pay taxes but I can assure you they get a break on the amount of taxes they pay if they own multiple units. So why should the I have to pay extra for a child to use our school ?? It’s not my fault they have decided to rent or can’t get a mortage. I pay for my child to go to catholic school BECAUSE I want him to go for a better education. I’m not rich I work as a waitress I struggle to pay my bills I drive a 15 year old car I pay alot of school taxes including my sons tuition every year it’s not right. I can’t even get SSI for my husband who has stage 4 cancer because we have stocks more tha 2,ooo.oo dollars. BUT they send me a school tax bill every year. Something needs to be done, tax these renters to use our school system or tell them to get out. Senior Citizens, home schoolers , private schoolers shouldn’t have to pay for there children.

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26 dittoheadla September 8, 2012 at 8:19 am

We need to devise a flat fee tax for “government/public” schools; a fee that would never go up. For every child one family puts through these schools, that family will pay any additional fees required for attendance.
There is a very big problem today with more than one family living in on residence. When I went to school, most of which was in Catholic schools, there was one family per household. Now we have 2+ families living in one houses and illegals taking advantage of our nation’s good nature!

There needs to be a major reevaluation of our government/public school system!

Enact the 10th Admendment and leave it up to the states! Then those states who want to gouge the homeowner with overburden taxes for the NEA can do so! The people will vote with their feet and move to a more hospitable state!

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27 Nick September 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Comparing paying for schools to paying for insurance is incorrect. One pays for car insurance because there is a CHANCE they’ll get a car accident. One pays for police and fire departments because they MIGHT need it. Someone like myself, who can not have children, should not have to pay for a service I have never used and never will. It’d be no different than saying everyone uses electricity. Why not socialize the electric companies? Or the water bill or sewer bill? Everyone needs their lawn mowed. Let’s socialize the lawn mowing companies. Everyone needs their driveway plowed. Why not have that socialized too?

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Dittoheadla Reply:

@Nick, you are “right on”, Nick! We need to be allowed to spend out taxes directed to “the children” in a way it best represents us and that is by allocating OUR money to those schools which will teach and not support the unions!

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28 theleggette@gmail.com September 26, 2013 at 9:24 am

The way I see it is this,
I’m being taxed without proper representation
I have no kids, went to a private school and SSI will be gone by the time I’m able to collect. As far as having kids not get a proper education, Have any of you seen the kids today???? Except for a few they are ALL dumb as a box of rocks.
I have 2 more months then I get to move from this oppressive and over taxed country.

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29 Tammy February 3, 2014 at 6:06 pm

Personally, I am getting sick and tired of paying for other peoples kids. I have no kids, I am unable to have kids- I will NEVER have kids– yet every year I pay in thousands to the IRS, and can only help to break even at the end of the year, all while others around me lay around on their lazy butt and refuse to get a job and at the end of the year they get thousand back that they never paid in.

To top that off, you add in this school tax crap. I pay more in school taxes then I do for property tax, and then I hear people talk about how their kid was ISSUED a IPAD from their school, and BROKE IT!

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30 mary schwartz March 24, 2014 at 1:46 am

As for paying school taxes…..if you are wanting the kids than you should pay for there schooling. I do not have any…my kids are my dogs, do others pay for my puppy training classes, No…Paying school taxes, leaves me nothing, I drive a 20 year old vehicle, I am 65 and I will be foreclosed on a home that is bought and paid for, and that I have lived in since I was 5 years old…..but I am 2 years behind on school taxes and if they are not paid within a few months I will be out on the street. Your damn right that people with no kids should be able to opt out of school taxes.. that is why I never had children…I was smart enough to have some forsight that I could not afford them. So do not burden me with your children. That was and is not my dream….

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31 James March 25, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Mary, I should pay a school tax based on income. One possible idea, have the school access part of the bill to the parents, then what they pay gets put down as a tax credit when they do taxes. But…I think you should be able to opt out all together by a certain age…55 or something. As for property taxes, they’re just wrong on so many levels.

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32 Steve April 15, 2014 at 11:25 am

Speaking from a “young person’s” point of view; I agree that there should be a revisement to mandatory support of schools via property tax where individuals without children are essentially penalized. This is not a rant against taxes; I agree with the property taxes for local support such as roads, police, fire (former firefighter here) to which are required for a liveable community.
However, schools are for those individuals/families who decide to have children, to put it bluntly. I resent the implication that I should have to pay for their children’s education as a result of their choice. I do not currently have nor plan to have children at any time for obvious reasons. An option along the lines of “opt out” or “does not qualify” for school taxes should be allowed in the same manner married individuals receive a tax break.
Unfortunately, as this would set a precedent (in the government’s view) on the choices of taxation (opinion: there isn’t any), such a concept will not be accepted; especially with those with children. As a result, I find myself disenfranchised with both property ownership & this current method of taxation. Like most, I would love to own land, but not until this is tax has been revised to accurately represent the demographic I am in. To pursue my dreams in property ownership would to accept & approve of this gross oversight (however unintended it is).

(Note: I have conducted unbiased (and unscientific) surveys on both single individuals w/o kids & those currently with kids and a majority of them suprisingly agree that those with children should pay and those without should children should not)

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33 Anonymous April 20, 2014 at 3:49 pm

I really don’t see why people without kids should pay taxes for schools. I’m actually from Canada and people with kids don’t pay more on their taxes for healthcare no matter how many kids they have. I believe your taxes should increase depending on the number of children you have. You are using more public services and the amount you shell out in taxes should reflect that. Why am I paying for someone else’s kid to go to school and get health coverage whilst they actually pay less in taxes with all the deductions they get? I’d rather have a new TV than pay for your kid’s education and health coverage…harsh but fair. They’re your kids. You pay for them.

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Christine Reply:

@Anonymous,

There is a book about this called Singlism. I am a responsible professional who has chosen not to marry or have kids. Yet my tax rate is higher than my married friend’s who has five kids. How is this just?

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Steve Reply:

@Christine,

To answer your question: it isn’t.

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34 Michael July 17, 2014 at 9:03 am

I think some look at it all wrong. Sure, we should ALL pay our fair share. But when is enough; enough already? Taxes on schools are way too high and I do agree if you have 20 kids going to school that you should pay. But most of those people rent homes, not own them and the burden is then passed onto the landlord to pay them.

Lottery was suppose to fund education. What a joke. Taxes keep going up. Cigarettes were to pay for education. Hmmm, where is that check? The Government says they pay for education…but where is my “credit” for paying nearly $6000 a year in SCHOOL TAXES? The Government claims they pay for stuff that the American people are paying for. My school system is in the bottom ranking of the state. Yet, they keep building mega sports arenas for failing kids who have no business playing sports when they cant pass a math test. There is more to life than sports. I think if the “government” is paying for everything…they need to stop funding AND allowing such ignorance and wasted monies on athletic programs. If kids are failing…sports is the last thing they need.

I think some of see these overpriced taxes as…really? I am paying for that? And lets also not forget….we are paying for illegal aliens to go to school too. Where is the fairness in that? Why should OUR school teachers have to teach in English AND in Spanish (or other languages) for the SAME Pay? Some are told to do it or lose their jobs. Seriously?

The tax system needs an enema. Healthcare and all that is irrelevant as again….if you are illegal….you don’t pay because the American citizens got you covered!

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35 Justin December 12, 2014 at 7:20 pm

I understand that they say we all should pay taxes to the school system…. It’s not right for those who do not have kids , do not like kids ,nor do they / I care if any kinds ever are born again. I could care less about the future of your kids. But….since thats just how it is and we all have to pay…It should be a flat rate same dollar amount per household. It should not….NOT be based on your property value . I live in Shitty st louis county in 63034 zip code and have to pay 6000.00 a year in property taxes and 60% of that goes to the school. Why should I with no kids have to pay thousands more in taxes to the school than other people who only pay 900. bucks a year in total property taxes and have 5 kids. Why not have everyone just pay a flat 200 bucks a year towards school district in taxes. Again I could care less if there is a future at all…. Why would I care if your child gets an education. I have zero income at all.I live on my savings …. beings that bank interest is as crappy as it is today and now I’m going broke paying for your snot nosed brats to have a future.

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36 Zane March 1, 2015 at 11:05 pm

I agree with the flat tax idea my wife and I cannot have children nor do we really want to i have to pay about $3000 a year in school tax while a man I know who has 5 children pays only $400 a year in school tax plus gets huge tax deductions for having all these children. I know that everyone has to pay taxes for things they don’t necessarily use and what is really funny is how some of these people are saying that the children will be paying for us when we get old well let me tell you that I have seen the way children are coming out of our public schools nowadays and it makes me worry about who really will pay for us to live when we get old children nowadays are idiots when I see young people in public I usually only see the top of their heads because their face is buried in an iPhone really thought it is the parents fault don’t blame the schools don’t buy your 10 year old a damn iPhone buy them a book to read instead and don’t run to the school when they can’t read my parents taught me to read before I ever even went to school and I didn’t own a cell phone until I was in my mid 20 ‘ s and thanks to my caring parents who were a lot more strict than today’s parents I have a PhD in Organic chemistry

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37 Sean April 13, 2015 at 12:11 pm

I love it when people argue things like, “it just HAS to be that way.” I wish I could just say that at a debate, and everyone would stand cheer and clap and I would bow, then strut off stage. Unfortunately, when you start an argument that way you are probably rooting your logic in misconceptions from the get-go and it is likely the subsequent ideas will be drivel.
As a teacher, I am always in the minority on these conversations because of my “right wing” views conflicting with an extremely large majority of left-wingers.
Why not have people pay for the cost of education while their student is in school and then be done with it when they graduate? For example, in Colorado schools receive roughly 8k a year per student. I would be happy to pay 8k times 13 years of school (k-12) and then be done with it all.
one of my colleagues argued: “it takes a village to raise a child.” I wonder if that is code for, “who will pay for the education of the kid who’s irresponsible parents had a child they can’t afford,” to which my response is, “blame the parents not everyone else,” as well as… we are already subsidizing their ER bills, health insurance, rent, utilities, transportation, and food. I’m sure there will be measures to make sure the poor are being comforted through yet another irresponsible parenting decision.
Furthermore, the idea of everyone paying for their specific child’s education will help promote a lot of other benefits. IE more competition for your student’s business through a more voucher like system, tax payers taking more of an active role to see how their dollars are spent, people with out kids not paying as much for their neighbor’s education, a revolution on how teaching is catered to students as the dollars are more directly and visibly attached to each student.
I could go on and on, but I’m having too much fun and have to get back to work.
My 2 cents,
Sean

[Reply]

James Reply:

@Sean, What about these schools in certain areas where they provide breakfast during the school year and breakfast and lunch in the summer to those who meet the criteria for free stuff. Who was the moron that came up with that idea. If parents do not take care of their kids, it should be taken care of through CPS, not have schools pick up the slack for slacker parents. The needy are taken care of through other programs, should not be through schools.

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Devilofanger Reply:

@James,
Indeed, there are already too many programs for the needy. Welfare, food stamps, medicare, medicaid, social security (since you can’t opt out), child protective services and unemployment. We don’t need more programs, we need to reduce the amount that there is, be more strict on who is allowed into them, and give people the option to opt out of social security.

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38 Devilofanger April 26, 2015 at 10:45 pm

Well college isn’t like that, but society benefits from going to college. Should people who don’t go to or have kids in college still have to pay for college? Where does it end? That’s the other side of the slippery slope argument. No one is saying that they shouldn’t have to pay a military tax just because they don’t like what the millitary is involved in. That is quite different.

I personally don’t think it’s fair that someone who currently has zero kids in the public school system has to pay the same rate as someone who has 1, 2, 3, 4 or more kids in the system, because they aren’t getting direct services from it. For all you know they may have never even set foot on school grounds. Or maybe that person would even be ok with the trade off of not funding schools and forcing parents to educate their own kids, put them in a private school or whatever, but that person has no choice. So my opinion? Those people should have to pay severely less in school taxes if anything, and maybe even take it as far as prorating the school taxes depending on how many kids you have.

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39 KGC June 2, 2015 at 9:13 am

#1) Don’t expect any to believe that 54% of IL school tax is actually going where it should.
#2) I have no kids, get no income tax credits for having kids, yet I have to pay property tax for those who have kids. Where are my credits?
#3) We did not have kids so that we could live on the public dole.
#4) We are already paying more than we realize for kids who have parents that do not keep them out of trouble with the law.
#5) If we have to pay, we should get a vote on what the schools spend.

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40 john ferguson August 17, 2015 at 9:10 pm

More of a question, but how long have school taxes been an institution in this country?

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41 Tim November 11, 2015 at 8:42 pm

I agree with Keith here. We have no children either and are in our mid 40s. I feel we should pay some to school taxes: cause these kids will be our next generation of working class. But we should not pay the amount that people with children should. They should pay the bulk of the tax, they already get the child dependent tax from the goverment. Doesn’t anyone know of any lobby groups that will help push the school tax opt-out program in NYS? I agree totally you want the kids, you can pay for them too.

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42 Tom H March 7, 2016 at 2:40 am

I’ve been following this issue in the USA ardently for years. I’m only in my twenties, but have chosen not to have children for ecological, social, and personal reasons. I’m a bit insulated from the obligatory social costs associated with caring for children and teens (I only this past May graduated), but it floors me to read here how much people are paying in inescapable taxes to educate children others choose to have. Please excuse the comparison (I mean no offense to anyone), but if I, a lower-middle class individual, choose to have a horse, knowing its care is expensive–perhaps even cripplingly so, even if the horse might benefit my neighbors, I cannot conceive of demanding my neighbors pay to feed, house, and train the horse I chose to have. I don’t feel it’s at all fair to make me pay in perpetuity for others’ reproductive choices.

We’re a planet of 7+ billion. Our species isn’t threatened with extinction. And frankly, I know that I have to provide for my own retirement–I’m not expecting or even interested in social security, despite the potential objection that I’m young and might feel this way only now. I use roads–or even if I don’t, I am likely to eventually. I don’t drive now so I don’t have to have auto insurance. But I am not ever going to have children–they’re far, far too expensive, for one thing–and I’m not about hoisting my financial responsibilities onto others’ shoulders. Also, governments and the globe’s powerful (not to mention most of us average Joes) don’t seem sincerely interested in creating (or able to create) a kind of world in which existence for very many isn’t such a burden. Yet more, every additional human being places a significant resource drain on a planet that’s already heavily taxed with human life and our attendant demands. This isn’t the type of place I want to heft onto new life. So please stop forcing me to pay, over my entire property-owning adulthood, for others’ decisions to have children, despite my reasoning to the contrary. If anything, by NOT creating a new resource drain on the biosphere, I–and others like me–ought to earn credits for leaving untouched resources other families hungrily lap up.

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Dan Reply:

@Tom H,

That’s democrats for you Tom. They don’t have the balls to simply let the chips fall for kids or adults in times of hardship. Even though choosing to care about other people’s problems should be a choice that you make, and no one else’s.

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43 Katie March 22, 2016 at 1:51 pm

I’m a single woman in my thirties and I don’t have children nor do I plan on having them. I also own my home for which the cost keeps increasing due to the taxes going up. I don’t mind paying taxes that everyone has to pay, it’s how public services are paid for. What I do have a problem with is paying more and more each year in school taxes when the majority of those using the school system are NOT paying because they all rent. I’m not saying I should never have to pay any school taxes but I also feel that the parents that are not paying school taxes have to share in footing the bill. If every one, renters and owners, paid than everyone’s share wouldn’t break the bank. I’m sick of seeing people that have kids get enormous tax refunds, I know of people that don’t even have a job and still get $5000 or more back PER KID every year. How about lowering that refund for parents that rent and putting that towards the school taxes?? Not only do I have to pay for their kids through taxes on top of that I have to have it rubbed in my face that the government is giving them even more unearned money just because they got knocked up?!

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44 James March 22, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Hi Katie,
Renters do pay taxes, just indirectly. They pay the rent, the landlord pays property taxes. Schools should not be supported through property taxes. The government is wrong in taxing residential property. Ownership should be a protected right. Not one that you have to buy year after year or else you get your property taken from you. Give me a school tax, but base it on my income, not what I own. Otherwise, I really don’t own it, I’m just renting from the government.

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Tom H Reply:

@James, Now that I know the US government can take your home JUST because you can’t afford to keep paying taxes on it, I’ll never buy a home in this country. How the h*ll did that system get passed into law? It’s bad enough it takes 15-30 years for most people to pay off their mortgages–with near the majority of that being interest to lenders, but on top of that you have to pay-pay-pay the government taxes ’til you’re dead?

No thank you.

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45 Joey June 4, 2016 at 7:48 am

Here I sit, 40 years old. I am losing my home. I have no qualms about med, ss, wage, sewer, etc. taxes for services I use and need. I however have no kids, never had. But I cannot afford the $3k a year school tax and still pay for living expenses. So the state is taking my house, no, my home of 40 years. Only alternative I see, they take my home, I then become a burden on the state. The state of PA will now have to provide me housing and food. I will continue to work as I have always done. But its nice to know that MY taxes will now pay for MY living expenses.

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Tom H Reply:

@Joey, What you’ve shared here terrifies me & enrages me. Your home is being stollen from you because you can’t afford to pay taxes? So in essence, no one owns his/her home. So for the rest of our lives, we’re actually serfs on the government’s land. I’m terribly sorry about your situation, man. The more I learn about how things actually work here in the US, the more the expat life strikes me as reasonable.

I just can’t afford to take care of myself–both my parents are dead, and I put myself through school without ever accepting any help from a single person–and take care of other people, too.

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KGC Reply:

@Joey, MILLIONS OF ELDERLY ARE FACING THE SAME FATE. Seniors have faithfully payed the government hard earned taxes all their lives, while government “officials” mercilessly squander what they have put in no sweat for.
So the retired population helplessly waits for the inevitable consequences – PROPERTY TAXES CONTINUE the entire life of a retired homeowner, and at the same time the COST OF LIVING INCREASES.
The results: Social Security and pensions no longer cover even the day-to-day, so savings are drained and homes are sold, because now elderly are in the stage of life where the time for earning money is over.
Is retirement the time for compulsory school taxes especially if you have had no children and have never benefited from, for some, nearly life long school tax payments?
And, please, save us all the argument that we all benefit from educating children. That job belongs to the parents! Or should parents (especially if they are renters) not be responsible for anything that involves educating their own?!!!
How long must home owners be penalized for the UNLIMITED number of children others decide to have, when in a majority of cases, most parents will not themselves even dole out, in the very least, some tech school education for their drains on all of us?

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46 Angela Lott June 10, 2016 at 1:16 pm

I truly understand I,m a disable person my income is 1,200 a month why should I have to pay school taxes never had any children, this needs to be address,either to the goverment ,or washington

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47 Kathy C June 21, 2016 at 3:40 pm

There’s 1 point all the ‘with children’ people are missing that I did not see anyone bring up (or I missed it…sorry).

People with children, who want us (without children) to pay as much as they do, forget they get a write off on their taxes for having those children. (Their choice) Those of us without children just get to pay the same amount of taxes with nothing to write off but the taxes themselves. That is total crap!

I want our youth of today to get the best education possible as well. God help us, they will be making decisions about our lives some day. I’m just saying there should be an exemption for non-children (meaning NEVER had children) tax payers to make up the difference. I don’t mind paying some, but not the same amount of a family with 3 kids in the same valued house as mine.

If we moved to a Fair Tax System…..EVERYONE pays. Even the illegal immigrants that are making US $’s and sending it back to their home country to help their families, draining that money from our economy.

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Katie Reply:

@Kathy C, I agree Kathy, I said something similar in my post. It absolutely kills me to see people that don’t work and/or don’t own a home get huge tax returns just for having kids and I get practically nothing. Maybe if they didn’t get those huge returns and instead that money went into the school system they send their kids to I wouldn’t have to pay school taxes.

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