Friday, April 06, 2007

Economic Idiocy

At the end of the P&C's article today complimenting State Senator Glenn McConnell on his letter asking the attorney general for an interpretation of the state school funding formula in light of last year's tax reform, the reporters appended an email from newly-elected CCSD school board member Brian Moody. Here is what appeared in the news article:

"School board member Brian Moody wrote in an e-mail to The Post and Courier that he couldn't agree more with McConnell's letter and was thrilled that he wrote the attorney general. The issue has nothing to do with where people stand on the property tax debate. It's an issue of fair play, he wrote.

'If there's more money being funneled into public education in South Carolina, how can you reconcile that the largest tax contributor, Charleston County, would receive less money than the year before,' Moody wrote. 'The answer is, you can't. Frankly, I'm not sure how a reasonable person could see this any other way.'"

The reporters wisely chose not to comment further, or, if they did, their response was cut off.

Moody clearly doesn't understand what the formula is all about--equalizing money spent in districts across the state (in Texas it was known as the "Robin Hood" law).

Let's try some simple economics for Brian, who either doesn't get it or is deliberately being obtuse:

Suppose you have a yearly pie and each district gets a piece of it each year. If all of the pieces are the same size, the district that has baked really large pies in the past will end up with a much larger total than the district that hasn't had the ingredients to bake a big pie. In fact, the latter district has gone hungry. If you want to equalize the results for the two districts, the larger slice that you give to the hungry district will mean that the pie-rich district will get a smaller piece.

Brian, there's no way around this economic fact. It doesn't matter if taxes come from property or from sales: the pie is the same size. Giving CCSD $11.4 million more will mean that the hungry districts will get $11.4 million less.

In the past CCSD would have dealt with a shortfall by raising property taxes and again spending more than the less wealthy districts. Apparently our state legislators did not want that result. They are the ones who have limited the district's ability to raise taxes on owner-occupied homes. It was a really popular idea at the time, Brian. Do you remember?

There is nothing, I repeat, nothing about this result that should be a surprise to anyone except the exact amount of the deficit for CCSD.

That's what a "reasonable" person should conclude.
Update: I stand corrected: Brian Moody is NOT "newly elected." He is serving his second term on CCSD. I guess his remarks just suggest that he's new!


Anonymous said...

And Biran Moody is a CPA?

Anonymous said...

You described Brian Moody as "newly elected". I think he is actually in the middle of his 2nd four year term on the County School Board, which also means he should know better.

Babbie said...

Sorry about that. And he obviously knows better in that case. Would you let him do your taxes?

Anonymous said...

He is "doing" our taxes. Look what it's costing us and our schools as it is. Wasn't he the one who didn't realize until a year later that he voted to approve a 30% tax increase in 2005? He eventually raised a question about Don Kennedy's use of a zero growth rate, again a year after the fact. It appears that CCSD budget planners are still using zero growth estimates for 2006 and 2007. Is Brian Moody raising any sand over this? Even the most conservative governmental financial planners would advise using about a 3% annual growth rate for anticipated new property tax collections. A zero growth rate in Charleston makes no sense except to create the illusion of a revenue shortfall. Funny thing is that if they did use a realistic growth rate, they might not need to ask the legislature to bail them out every year. Do you think Sen. McConnell might like to hear this BEFORE the legislative delegation meets with the school board on April 20?

Anonymous said...

I guess we need to tell the legislative delegation about this blog so they can become "educated." I wonder how many of them went to public schools? Better yet, how many of them send their children to public schools? Chip Limehouse has told parents in Dist. 20 they need to ask the grandparents to pay for private school. Evidently, that's his solution to our public school situation. I wouldn't be surprised if he's telling his other "constituents" to use the grandparents' downtown addresses to get their children into Buist.

Anonymous said...

Chip Limehouse is rumored to not be a legal resident of his downtown district anyway. He moved to the 'burbs a long time ago. He supposedly just keeps running for reelection as if he still lives on Menotti Street. But that's just a rumor.

Anonymous said...

Whether Chip is back on Menotti or not, one thing is for sure...there's too many fake addresses to cover. Why does it always come back to the fake addresses?
As Jack Johnson sings, "Where have all the good people gone?"

Anonymous said...

All the officials who said the Buist addresses were fine last year need to be called out. The super, the county board chairman, the principal, the director of communications and his girl friend, the data/testing chief....all need to be shown as part of the cover up. Each one made false declarations to the public that they found no use of false addresses among the applicants in 2006, which was not true. Each one made false statements to the public and has not been held accountable despite the evidence that they covered for the cheaters. Goodloe-Johnson is ultimately responsible, but so is Nancy Cook, Sallie Ballard, Jerry Adams and Janet Rose-Beale. Numerous others in the administration knew this including Greg Meyers and Hillery Douglas, but did nothing or made excuses. Great example to the students, ladies and gentlemen. If the published student code of conduct were to be applied to these adminiistrators, each would be subject to disciplinary action, including expulsion. Why the double standard?

Anonymous said...

Some say that Riley used to spend more time at his Isle of Palms home. Who cares? The District 20 list at Buist is a huge issue because there are actual downtown children that were displaced by the address cheats. I actually believe that most of the fake address crowd still doesn't understand that they took a spot from a real kid. The issue is not understood.

I would bet that even Sallie Ballard, Janet Rose, Goodloe Johnson, Earl Choice and Jerry Adams don't get this issue. This is not the same thing as pretending you live in the Wando District or even the St. Andrews Math and Science area. Those schools make room for their residents. Sallie, Janet, Jerry and even Mr. Choice can't be trusted with anything if they claim they did address verification. They simply never thought it was an important issue.

They also believe that the people of District 20 will eventually tire of this. They will be very surprised about future developments. It won't be ending with ABC News and Nightline. That was a puff piece.

The smartest thing the school board could do is to quickly admit that they have discovered the cheaters and kick their children out of the schools. Those children all have schools outside of downtown they are zoned for. Goodloe Johnson and the school board will soon be exposed for their neglect of District 20. It's not going to be pretty.

Why did they neglect District 20? Because all of the schools are black and this is South Carolina! They could get away with it. District 20 residents haven't had a voice. That is changing.

Anonymous said...

You ask, "where have all the good people gone?" This is small town southern political corruption. It's what any outsider would expect of us. Maria Goodloe might not have come into the job playing the good old boy game but she quickly learned it in order to survive. Luckily she had fine people like Joe Riley, Gregg Meyers and Janet Rose to teach her how to play the game. We all know that the "old boy network" is not always white and male.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. But are you telling me there are no good people left?
Ouch, it really hurts to be kicked while I'm down.

Anonymous said...

I need this blog to lift my spirits. It's not doing it for me today. Please tell me there are people out there still willing to fight this good ol' boy system.

Anonymous said...

Try this one. Maria gets the nod in Seattle. The other guy, Thornton from Phily, is tapped for CCSD. He accepts and his 1st order of business is to do what Phily did to the magnet school address cheats there. Back bill them for the estimated $25K for each child in taxes, costs and tuition resulting from the displacement of the district kids who might have otherwise been admitted but for the cheaters who beat them out. If Thornton came here and did that as his first order of business (his second, as in Phily, to support creating additional charter schools) he'd be fired by our board in record time. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Okay, a little smile...