I am writing in response to the MDJ comments from readers with suggestions on how to resolve the Cobb County School District budget deficit. One writer was a “recovering real estate attorney” and is now an investment sales broker in real estate. He attempts to make the case that Cobb should “make older Cobb residents pay school taxes.”
First, we should remind that person and other proponents of “make older Cobb citizens pay school taxes” that demanding taxes from Cobb’s senior citizens on a fixed income would not solve the Cobb County School District deficit of approximately $82 million. The numbers are approximate because the Board of Education quoted varying amounts of the deficit in multiple articles.
That might be part of the problem. If they do not know the exact size of the deficit, how can they get that deficit under control?
We will use the lower $82 million deficit for this example. According to the 2010 census, Cobb has, rounded down, a population of 700,000 people. Of that population, approximately 9 percent are seniors over age 62, or 63,000 people.
The average school tax is approximately $227 per year. If that is the case, making senior citizens pay school taxes would raise an additional $14 million. That still leaves a $68 million deficit. Some people on a limited fixed income would have to pay the school tax out of their shrinking savings while they have no children in school.
Second, take the time to look at all the so-called temporary, now seemingly permanent, Cobb County education SPLOST tax lists. The majority of the list for every SPLOST has been real estate development. One of the “tax the seniors” proponents admitted that he earns his living in real estate. Is there any connection to him asking citizens to pay more taxes to go toward his field of real estate and special interest projects that line his (and others) pockets? I wonder.
In conclusion, the way to solve the deficit problem in Cobb County is not to demand more taxes from seniors on fixed incomes, but, rather, to be more efficient with the money Cobb County already has.
Mrs. Jan Barton