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Opinion

Levies aren’t fair

An entitlement is a guaranteed benefit under a government program. In the case of the forthcoming Lake Pend Oreille School District 84 supplemental school levy, we have a case in which both the school district and the students benefit from a single levy. Students surely benefit as proclaimed by the sponsors of the levy with the standard refrain of “it’s for the children.”

School district employees benefit from the levy in the form of compensation and increased or sustained benefits. The levy proceeds and benefits constitute an entitlement, or at the least a taking, since there is no offsetting analysis of the revenue stream other than “need” to justify the collection of funds via the levy.

Fundamentally, the school district is budgeting like the federal government. The school district or feds declare a need, pass a levy or increase taxes with a simple majority vote, and then take the money from the property taxpayer or general taxpayer, regardless of their capacity to pay. If the property owner, aka taxpayer, can’t pay the levy or taxes they ultimately can lose their property.

The only thing the school district can’t do is run a deficit or print money, yet.

Tom Clark

Sandpoint


 

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