Time to remove school tax exemption for seniors
March 28, 2010 01:00 AM | 1302 views | 22 22 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
DEAR EDITOR:

I don't know what is more amazing, my agreeing with Allen Hirons (Letter, "Seniors' exemption for school taxes a dilemma," March 20 MDJ), or the MDJ's willingness to raise this important community issue. I believe removing the senior tax exemption is the right thing to do for several reasons.

The exemption is un-American in the strictest, most literal, sense. The fundamental reason for the American Revolution was "No taxation without representation." Seniors not paying the school property tax and being allowed to vote for school board members is "Representation without taxation."

Some may argue school services are no longer used by seniors. Would the same logic allow citizens to deduct the portion of their taxes devoted to public parks they did not use? Could the same argument be used for families not utilizing the public school services by choosing private schools or home schooling? Do any of these seniors have grandchildren that utilize our public school system? Do they attend school extracurricular events?

Seniors owning homes benefit from any property value a strong, fiscally sound, school system brings to the area and neighborhood. That benefit may not be immediate, but will be realized at the time of home sale or valuation of net worth.

Lastly, our community schools are financially strapped. Budgeting and belt tightening will only go so far. Do we think school teachers are being paid too much? Do we really think increasing class size benefits our young citizens, our schools, or our community?

Luckily our Marietta superintendent has diligently kept funds in the "rainy day" reserve to meet short term needs. Removing the seniors' exemption would help restore that reserve and increase school operating budgets.

Steve Nielsen
Marietta
Comments
(22)
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Cowboy Joe Fan
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April 02, 2010
Well said, Cowboy Joe! Let's do get rid of entitlements!!!!!! I am all for it.
no kids
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April 02, 2010
I find it very interesting that the seniors do not have to pay school taxes and most will argue they shouldn't have to until the cows come home. I wonder how they would feel if I, as a thirty-something female who does not have children, decided I shouldn't have to pay my school taxes?!?!?!?
cowboy joe
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April 02, 2010
Well said, get rid of all entitlemnents social security, medicare, unemployment, medicade, tax breaks for seniors, welfare. It's everyman for himself. God bless America.
Pat H
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March 29, 2010
I think all free school lunches, and breakfasts, should be eliminated. For heaven's sakes, if you can't even afford to feed your kid a lunch you should be reported to DFACS. Stand in line at a food bank and feed your kid. Eliminate all school cafeterias, food and service staff - look at the money saved. Parents should be providing lunch, and as for free breakfasts? Come on now you lazy parental louts. You have no business having kids if you can't afford to feed them.

Seniors don't bring up the crime rate, they don't contribute to many other county expenses such as Section 9 housing, free county medical services and vaccinations, free sports programs, myriads of other expenses.

If you want to increase school funding, first look to apartments, extended stay motels and rental properties. The numbers of school children from those types of housing are immense.

In NJ, which has a much higher level of test scores than GA, the builders and developers were made to build a school or schools when they developed the land - they donated the property and built the school as a part of doing business. Now there's a suggestion - and lets do it retroactively since the greedy builders are responsible for enticing all those illegals in the first place. In fact, they should be taxed to pay for each child of each worker in the school district.
Allen Hirons
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March 29, 2010
One other thing Steve. My letter was intended to lay out the issues and stir up some controversy and was a response to something Laura Armstrong wrote. No one knows, least of all me, what I will do when I am 62. (Sounds like a Beatles song)

Allen
Allen Hirons
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March 29, 2010
Dear Steve Nielsen: I very much appreciate your agreeing with me. That it is amazing to you, that you do,is both surprising and humbling to me. I always imagined that all my ideas were unassailable in their steel trap logic.I felt that the philosophical underpinnings of my beliefs were rock solid. To find that someone might disagree with me would suggest either a flaw in my thought processes (unthinkable) or a dangerous spreading of insanity in the community of readers of the paper.If I have not pulled your leg enough by now,Steve, I could go on, but will spare you. But since you seriously seem to disagree with me on something, perhaps we need a beer summit. Allen Hirons

do something
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March 29, 2010
Cobb county has an ordinance that more that 2 unrelated families cannot live in a single residence.

If all these people are living under one roof - call cobb county.

The rules are there - quit belly aching and make that call!
Indian Joe
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March 29, 2010
Has anyone even looked at all of the tax exemptions that are offered in Cobb County other than the senior scool tax? How about "unmarried surviving spouses of police officers or firefighters killed in lineof duty - full value of het homestea; a $22,000 exemption if you are disabled with income of less than $12,000 a year (a lot of seniors I know would love to have this kind of income); disabled vets receive a $50,000 exemption; surviging unmarried spouses of membersof the armed forces killed in a war or due to injuries as a result thereof, receive a $50,000 exemption. Why is everyone so intent on taking their anger out on seniors - we built this country for you, and sacraficed more than you will ever realize. Guess seniors are a convenient group to pick on -and again as I told Mr. Hirons, if anyone of you out there now 62 or over, or approaching that mark, I am sure the county will be glad to take your money should you chose to pay it anyway - but quit trying to decide for everyone else whether they can afford it or not. And amen to the comments on the illegals - I think cleaning up that mess would put the DOE budget back in the black. Just look at what you are paying for - extra teachers, buses, aides, lunches and supplies. Not a small amount.
A FIGHT
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March 29, 2010
Trust me, you don't want to see a fight like you will get if you dare touch this exemption. It

will be ugly because as Seniors we know how to

fight and really stick it where the sun don't

shine. We have had lots of practice and this is one fight that you WILL NOT WIN!!!!!!!!!
mk,..sic of BS!
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March 29, 2010
...YES, Alan,(don't be afraid to speak the TRUTH!!).... our economic woes have EVERYTHING to do w/ our country giving ALL we have to other corrupt countries, while they all sit & laugh @ our WEAKNESS! We could close 100's of schools in Georgia & it wouldn;t effect any American children @ all,.. (ie- Belmont Hills, Argyle, Green Acres, etc)-- Pres. Caulderon was on CNN Sunday, demanding that we continue to allow HIS labor force to work in OUR country,... while THEIR economy is doing much better & seeing growth! He also continued to blame their Mexican drug war & bloodbath on the American users! WAKE up America,... it's ALMOST too late!!!
mk-
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March 29, 2010
See Pat H. below & DITTO!!!
Retiree1
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March 29, 2010
We have a situation in our subdivision where one house has housed numerous hispanic families. They paved a huge new driveway and sometimes early in the a.m. I ounted 13 cars (mostly work trucks) there! Also, when the school bus stops here, about a dozen kids get off and walk to that house, even though many don't live there. I think they may not even live in this school district but use that address. It is hard to believe that their parents are paying their "fair share". I am not yet 62 but I look forward to getting that exemption.
outthere
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March 29, 2010
Yes, I do think teachers are paid too much. Have you actually looked at how much a teacher earns? And as a 62 year old I don't think there should be any age exemption, I voted against it years ago.
A senior Citizen
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March 29, 2010
Keep your hands off our exemption.I paid taxes

in Cobb County for Twenty eight years after my

children graduated, so I more than did my part.

I also worked and saved and paid off my mortgage

beforeI was 62, so that when I retired I would

have enough money to live. This is called

planning, which is not done by the current I want

it now generation. The CCSD should have planned

for hard times. It is not our responsibility to

pay for thier short comings. Don't punish the

senior citizens for working and SAVING money



to have a good life.

No more gov. Schools
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March 29, 2010
It's time to do away with government funded education as we are going broke trying to support it. Schools should be privatized and those with kids should pay for the education they get. If they are illegal they then would have to pay for their kids to attend private school. The poor could go to alternative education centers to learn the basics, but not have the luxuries of a paying student like French lessons, artificial turf and after school activities.
anonymous
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March 28, 2010
As a soon to be 62-year-old myself, I am in agreement with the letter writer and Hirons. An exemption that kicks in at age 65 might be a good compromise. We need to examine all the options; no one wants new taxes, but this is one time when we don't have a choice.
MrK
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March 28, 2010
Steve, you should be ashamed. First, your "Representation without Taxation" argument, if that's what you meant it to be, is beyond ridiculous. Did you ever stop to think that maybe, just maybe, that by the time someone reaches retirement age (or near it) they deserve a bit of a break? They've been paying taxes for far longer than many of us, and they have given their fair share to support all of the wasteful government spending that goes along with it. As for their grandchildren, I suppose what you are suggesting is that we charge double for a student who happens to have both parents and grandparents who live in the county. Of course, the county would then take that extra money and use it to teach the child of some illegal immigrant who doesn't pay taxes anyway. Whenever the money gets particularly tight, all the selfish whiners who never learned to appreciate what their parents did for them come crawling out from under their rocks and try to get this exemption overturned. Well, good luck.
CzechMate
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March 28, 2010
You're totally right, Steve. Unfortunately, the 62 crowd is such a key voting bloc, the legislators will never even consider a bill to change or repeal Cobb's exemption. Many of these same seniors will show up to board meetings to gripe about their grandchildrens' schools or issues, but they don't lose that right with their tax exemption. Any logical reasons for such exemptions are much more difficult to justify in this economy.
Dustoff
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March 28, 2010
Wrong answer there buddy.

My last child graduated 15 years ago so why should I continue to pay school taxes even up to 62?

Now if want to decrease the budget for the schools, then start demanding that illegals not be given a free ride in our schools, do away with special language classes for them, stop their free breakfast and lunches.

And get a BOE that has the determination to run the school system as it should be run and not cower to the egotist superintendent that believes he runs the system.

Until then keep your mitts off my tax monies.
Alan Faircloth
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March 28, 2010
Not to sound too much like D.A. King, but I cannot help but wonder about the true impact of illegal immigration on our schools. I lived next door to a house where several families lived together in one house. It was way too many people for a small 3 Bedroom house. How many kids of illegal immigrants are being educated without corresponding payment of taxes supporting the schools. Seems unfair to accuse those 62 and older of not paying their fair share, when people who have and are breaking the law aren't paying their fair share and actually have kids being educated.
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