Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor: Issues relating to MPS in the April 2015 election

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Citizens will have two issues that relate to Marshall Public Schools to decide on in the April 2015 election. One is the proposed levy increase and the other is the election of two members to the board. This letter will deal with the proposed 75-cent progressive levy. If passed patrons will see a 25-cent increase in their school tax each of the next three years. There will no doubt be numerous reasons offered in an attempt to convince voters why the levy should be passed. Please base your vote upon fact, not reasons that are presented as fact, but are false. These reasons have been used in the past, and one false statement that has been used in the past is, "It has been 40 years since there has been a school levy increase." Another is "the 31-cents voted on in 2003 was just a one year levy," still another is "the Handcock Amendment did away with the 31 cent levy." These statements have been repeated so often and over a period of time that many may assume they are true. The fact is all of these statements are untrue. It is difficult to determine if those who continue to repeat them are intentionally trying to mislead voters or just ignorant.

First, the truth is, if you look at the ballot used in 2003 it states that the 31-cents was an increase in taxes. Second, all levy increases are permanent except for a bond issue, then the levy disappears when the bonds are paid off. Third the truth is Handcock, Amendment I and Handcock Amendment II were passed to protect the tax payer. Amendment I was passed to prevent all levels of government from taxing citizens in excess of the intended levy, and Amendment II was passed to eliminate loopholes found in Amendment I.

Re-assessment is an activity that occurs every two years to adjust property values for taxing purposes. Governmental entities that depend on property taxes are limited how much they may benefit from reassessment. The amount that any level of government may benefit is regulated by provisions in the Handcock Amendments and the Consumer Price Index. If the property values go up in excess of the Consumer Price Index, a work sheet from the State Auditors Office is used to determine the amount the local levy must be adjusted. This usually results in the levy being lowered but the total amount of taxes raised is never lowered in fact the total tax is usually increased.

One additional reason I feel will surface as time goes on was invented last spring during the last levy drive. That reason, simply stated, says, "Marshall spends $1,000 less per student than the next lowest rated school." I don't accept this as a true statement and am currently researching this statement as I have those above.

Hopefully this letter has provided information that will help you better identify false reasons that may be offered to convince voters to vote "yes" on the board's proposal.

Roger Blakely,