Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"Taxes and the Deep Blue See!" by GCS Treasurer, Carla Surber

It’s the time of year when all of us go to work each day and turn to thoughts of taxes. Deductions from our paychecks, estimated taxes and the amount owed to Uncle Sam are a huge reminder that we live in a system of government services. We either struggle over the online filing with a tax package bought at the local store, or hire someone to do the deed for us. The current system began in 1913, three years after Mark Twain died. Even though he was long gone before the income tax system began, Mr. Twain was very intuitive.

He wrote “the only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin!” He echoed the sentiments of the population even before there was a system in place. And to add insult to injury, we never know where all our dollars go!

We have to remember that taxes are meant to be an exchange for the right to receive goods and services. In government, the services and goods you receive are often measured by what you can see.

When we send money to the Federal Government, we think we never see the results. Many who reach the age to draw social security have remitted taxes for years, and subsequently receive the right to medical and a supplemental income at retirement. Also, at the federal and the state level, we can see roads and other infrastructure. You really have to think about it to understand how these things might be funded. Most people never think about this until reminded by paying their tax bill.

The closer to home, the more you can see the results. The recent levy passed for the new school is now paying for foundations adjacent to State Route 121. The State of Ohio made a nineteen million dollar contribution to the project, while the voters of our community generously and selflessly committed to another thirty seven million. If you can see it, you can understand it and you can see the value of the contribution. It is a daily reminder. The new Kindergarten through Eighth grade building will be a great gateway to the City of Greenville.

In addition to levies on property used for the new building, there are withholding levies. All in Darke County know, or should know, that you pay a school district income tax. The School District Income Tax began in 1982 as another addition to fund schools. This tax has been used to supplement Greenville School since 1990. The district has maintained the rate at ½ % for the last twenty five years despite changes to the law that have nearly ended former taxes on business inventory and equipment. The school income tax is simple, and does not tax social security. If you live here, you pay here. You can see it providing books, technology, teachers and all the necessary items and people for the children of our district to be educated. This money serves to educate from the highest achiever to those who struggle and need the extra help of a teacher who tutors in the early morning.

We have worked at Greenville City Schools to keep your tax rates affordable by not increasing the school district income tax. Although 195 school districts statewide have a school district income tax, Greenville is one of only twenty three districts who have been able to maintain a lower rate for taxpayers while continuing to provide quality service. There is only one school district in the state at a lower rate than Greenville.

You can see every day the money that provides education for the students of the district. Seeing is believing.

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