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Starving The (Schoolhouse) Beast

   Christian Weiss, Charlie Crist's chief economist, terrified Florida educators with a newsletter announcing the the so-called tax swap envisioned by Amendment 5 would likely be a one-way deal. Crist supports a radical cut in school property taxes. But Weiss stated that the governor was "not supportive of increasing sales taxes, either by repealing exemptions, or by raising the rate, even if the revenues are used to lower property taxes."

   It's a nasty little ploy against public school funding. The governor urges voters to vote in favor of Amendment 5, which would slash the schools millage rate in half and eliminate nearly $9 billion in property tax collections earmarked for schools.

If voters endorse amendment in November, then there's no question: that money is gone. The cut is forever memorialized in the Florida Constitution.

Unhappily, the second portion of the amendment, the other half of the swap, is no more than an ambiguous toothless suggestion. The legislature is given a choice whether to raise sales taxes, or close tax exemptions or make cuts elsewhere in the state budget (an unlikely prospect given that Florida's budget has already been massacred.) Except there's no mechanism to actually force the legislature to make that choice.

Crist's budget boy indicated that the guv would not be pushing the lawmakers to use a sales tax to make up the difference. Crist, asked by the Gainesville Sun, refused to say where he thinks state should find the money to make up for the lost school revenues.

The growing suspicion, of course, is that the Republican anti-government leadership has embarked on a very sneaky "starve the beast" strategy: persuading tax payers to a one-way tax swap that will leave Florida's public schools $9 billion poorer. But they're never quite get around to fixing what they broke.


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Beverly Slough

If Amendment 5 passes in November and no sustainable mechanism is instituted to replace the funds, public educaton as we know it will become extinct. Local school boards cannot tolerate a $9 billion decrease in funding and continue to provide a quality education for its students. Vote NO on Amendment 5!

John Lee

A couple years back I looked into the Broward school budget and found some interesting data: number of students divided by number of teachers (in the budget) equaled 16 students per teacher. Number of staff divided into number of teachers equaled 1 staff employee for each teacher in the budget. My youngest daughter went to Western High School in Davie..the school had a principal and 7 (seven) assistant principals.

I believe the school system can easily cut the budget by 1. Having each person employed as a teacher actually teach. 2. Reduce the staff by 50%.

Like the taxpayers, the bureaucrats have to start living on a real-world budget. Do I think that will ever happen? Nope, but I feel better just by writing it.
Thanks for listening.


"public educaton as we know it" should become extint because it has failed to provide the service it was intended (40%+ drop outs and lousy test results) and it only works as a system for exploiting taxpayers in benefit of the education-bureacracy and union mafia establishment.

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