Tuesday, April 13, 2004

Multnomah County Income TAX!!!?

I guess I have to pay an additional county income tax on a tax that was voted on by the public... Oy, I got what I asked for when I called for public involvement. The people of this county voted for the tax before I moved into it last year... Doy!

The tax funds will go to insure that Portland area schools will run for a full year.

Huh?! I thought our normal property taxes (which are already high supposedly to compensate for our lack of a sales tax) are supposed to pay for this.

I'll pay the goddamn 1% of my income without reservation if I can be COMPLETELY assured that the students in this county receive the best education possible... which uh, I don't think they get.

Fact is public schools systems eat up much of the money they are alotted by the federal and state governments and property taxes because of the fat buracracies which are never evaluated for cost-effectiveness. Also, didn't you notice that bad teachers don't die? They just go into administration. Think of all the assistant principals you ever knew... remember when they were called in to subsitute for a teacher in an emergency... you would sit there for the entire period waiting for the class to end and thinking all the while, "How did this putz ever become a teacher?"

I have lost faith in the effectiveness of our public school systems. I don't blame the teachers or the parents, but I think in many cases the system has become so fat, sluggish and dull that no tangible positive change will ever be possible. Businesses and organizations that succeed are those that have the power to make drastic changes. The average public school district doesn't have this power. Districts and State Curriculum boards often swing back and forth when it comes to their general approach towards focus in the schools. One good example of this is the change in emphasis on standardized testing that happens every five or so years: Testing is good- teachers must teach to the tests/Testing is bad -teachers need to focus on a more learner-centered environment.

Testing is bad...
Testing is good...


Four legs good!
Two legs bad!

This pendulum approach to attacking problems has always seemed (to me) to be a symptom of a old, fat and ailing bureacracy.

from official multnomah county income tax site:

What does the tax pay for?
The County personal income tax is expected to raise $128 million this year. Most of the money ($89 million, or $3 out of $4) will be divided equally, on a per-pupil basis among all County school districts. Schools will use the money to help ensure a full school year, retain teachers to keep down class size, retain some extracurricular activities such as high school sports, and on other classroom needs.

Another $32 million will be divided equally between County public safety and health and human service programs, preventing the layoff of Sheriff's deputies, and retention of some senior and mental health services.

The remaining $7 million is reserved for collection costs, audits and other administration.


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