Archive for Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Our View: Paying for education well worth the cost

July 30, 2003

A recent letter to the editor in a northeast Kansas daily newspaper questioned the equity of single people with children paying taxes to support schools.

The letter writer, a single person, thought his school tax of $800 a year was out of line. Instead, he offered this: "I feel that if no children are in the school system, in a home, there should be a reduced rate of taxation. I feel like a $100-per-bedroom rate would be more appropriate than a huge cost to someone wishing not to have children. ... If someone chooses to have kids, then they need to be responsible to raise them, not someone with no children."

At this time of year, when school districts, cities and schools are setting their budgets, the issue of taxes is on all property owners' minds. And, yes, the tax bill can be an overwhelming expense, particularly for elderly residents of communities who live on Social Security.

But the point that the letter writer missed is this: Education of children -- not just the children who live in our homes -- is part of the social contract in this country.

Obviously, this letter writer obtained an education. And obviously, someone other than his parents picked up a large part of the costs. All types of taxpayers -- single people, married people with no children and elderly people whose children were in the public school system long ago -- pitched in with their dollars to ensure he earned an education.

Investing in education is an investment in the future. And it should be one that all taxpayers should be willing to take on. An educated citizenry is a benefit to each member of society.

It is dangerous to adopt an "I'll-pay-for-only-what-I-use" mentality. Working together, we can accomplish far more than working against one another.

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