Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chickens Roosting in Sales Tax for Schools

"It is no wonder that this was not properly forecast; apparently the economists that did the work up on the numbers attended South Carolina public schools."--from the comments section of the P & C [S.C. Paying Piper for Act 388 Tax Cuts ]

The outrage perpetrated on the taxpayers of South Carolina continues to resonate. That outrage is the substitution of state sales tax for property tax revenues to support local schools. Wednesday's article in the P & C says it all: those owning homes worth more than half a million dollars have made out like bandits, while the rest suffer. Emerson Read, hero to Marie-Antoinette!

To riff on Santayana (the philosopher, not the musician), Those who of us who predicted this financial disaster at the time are condemned to live through it.

It's hard to know what to make of some aspects of Act 388, however. Take the following provision:

"The property tax law requires the state to give school districts at least the amount of money they would have collected in property tax from exempted homes, with annual adjustments for population and inflation. However, the state can, and has, reduced other sources of funding to schools."

"The Department of Education budget was cut by $253 million in the current state budget."

What "other sources of funding to schools" amount to $253 million?

"Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D- Orangeburg, said she had asked what would happen to school funding in an economic downtown, under Act 388, and was told the money would come from general fund revenues."
Well, pony up!

1 comment:

Clisby said...

The biggest item, I think, is that CCSD gets in the neighborhood of $30 million from the Education Finance Act. There are others, as you can see from:

http://www.ccsdschools.com/Business/Budget/documents/20080609firstREADING.pdf

This isn't the final budget, but you get the idea.