Taxation and schools

Jennifer Bestor, Educate Our State, Menlo Park

The Capitol. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff.)

Re “‘Tax exhaustion’ may be on the horizon,” Dan Walters, Dec. 9, 2019.

Conflating Marin and Los Angeles parcel tax defeats misses the billion-dollar elephant in the room.   

In the four highest cost counties in California—Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara—well over half a billion dollars of property tax, collected for and allocated to education, is silently dismissed each year as “excess” to educational needs.

It is handed off to the county and city governments.  Meanwhile, their school districts — stuck with a flat statewide funding formula — face incredulous voters who assume schools are simply wasting taxpayers’ burgeoning tax payments. 

The Legislature could add a regional cost supplement to the formula with a simple majority vote—at no cost to the general fund—but legislators come from county and city governments. 

If school kids no longer succeed as great poster children for new taxes, well at least local governments look like financial wizards. 

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