People who want higher taxes are pushing hard to get the school tax on the ballot immediately. A little too hard.
It is a little too much when they let a problem grow over many years and then demand a tax as the only solution and insist upon it being passed immediately.
There isn’t much doubt that a lot of the public schools in Jacksonville are old and require a lot of maintenance.
School officials are using that fact to demand a referendum in November to hit property owners with a half-cent sales tax to support a $1.3 billion school building program.
It will cost a lot of money to hold a special election, but that’s not the main problem.
If a special election is held it will have a low turnout, compared to having the question on the ballot in November 2020 during a presidential election.
Everyone knows that a handful of voters can decide an issue when there is a low turnout. It seems pretty clear that the pro-tax side, backed by the powerful teachers union, can muster up the votes to impose the tax.
Why not let the people decide?
This problem did not arise overnight. School officials claim they haven’t had enough money to build schools but they have had enough to increase employee pay and consider building a fancy new building to house bureaucrats.
Waiting another few months would give them time to make a solid case to the voters and would allow more voters to participate in the decision.
What’s so bad about that?
What is clear is that the School Board doesn’t need to squander a lot of money by hiring two politically connected people to sell the idea.
If it is a good idea it will sell itself, and if the board is strapped for money paying two old pols to lobby for them would be a waste of scarce funds.