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Veteran sees tax exemption as divisive

Posted 10 February 2015 at 12:00 am

Editor:

I am writing in response to the question posed to the public concerning school tax reductions for military combat veterans. On its face, it is a noble and respectful suggestion. Actually, it is divisive and unfair to all who pay some of the highest educational taxes in the United States of America.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a combat veteran. I served in Vietnam and would be affected by this policy. I think it is important to point out that this is my opinion and I do not speak for any other individuals or organizations.

An article in The Hub outlined the potential reductions and, more importantly, mentioned that the lower costs for vets would be offset by higher rates for non-vets and a reduction in the percentages available in the STAR program.

I would like to go on record as opposing this entire concept and if it is enacted, I will not participate. I have to wonder who thought this was a good idea in the first place. I cannot, in good conscience, place myself above, and place a higher tax burden upon young families with children, farmers, fixed income seniors and business and property owners in the school district.

I do have, what I think, is a better idea.

We pay some of the highest school taxes in the nation. Please Google any database comparing various tax rates across the nation. An example would be www.syracuse.com/data/property-tax-rates. In conversations with individuals knowledgeable in school budget procedures, I found out that approximately 90 percent of local school budgets are comprised of state mandated costs.

I would like to propose a new program. It would acknowledge all who struggle to pay their school tax every year. It could be called the Military Mandate Minimization Model or M4. The state would cut mandates 50 percent this year and 10 percent every year going forward.

I think this would accomplish at least three things:

Cut everyone’s school taxes
Increase local control of school policies, costs and academic programs
Accomplish the thoughtful and noble goal of the original plan

I will not hold my breath waiting for M4 to become law. I would, however, like to ask my fellow VFW members, whether you belong to the organization or not, to weigh in on this veterans school tax exemption plan.

I know and you know, vets talk to vets. Think about it from a “school tax paying community” perspective and let the school board know what you think. The school board meeting is tonight, Feb. 10 at 6:30 at the high school or give them a call at 798-2710.

Thanks and welcome home.

Paul J Blajszczak
Medina