Public Budgeting Public Schools Are Financed Essay

Pages: 3 (922 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Economics

Public Budgeting

Public schools are financed by a number of means. Property taxes are one source of funding. Often, to comply with the 14th Amendment, states must ensure that there is an equivalent amount of money available to all districts, and that often means that the state must top up the contribution that each county, city or district makes through the property tax. In addition, some states contribute lottery or gambling revenues, or money from general revenue. Federal grants make up another source for educating funding. This paper is going to focus on the property tax issue, however, and some of the challenges associated with using the property tax to finance education.

Voters often want property tax reductions. In some places, they vote on the property tax adjustor, which is an elected position. This puts the adjustor directly owing a debt to the public but having to serve the revenue needs of the local school board.

A survey of alternate funding means shows that there are a few other options. Delaware allows the districts to raise taxes temporarily in order to finance capital projects. Connecticut uses bonds to fund the state's portion of the public education budget. Florida uses lottery and jai alai gaming revenue. Colorado has explored a number of options including sales tax, severance tax on oil and gas production, revenue from mineral leases and a statewide real estate transfer tax of 0.4% (TLC, 2006).

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However, these solutions all exist at the state level. States only supplement district revenues, and these are almost always drawn from property taxes. Districts often have few other options at their disposal. The property tax option is not without controversy, however. The property tax is based on a percentage rate that applied to the assessed value of the property. The property tax is paid by the property owner, but is often built into the cost of rent and leases, by either direct or indirect means.

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The property tax is nevertheless unpopular because it is unpredictable and can be arbitrary. If property values are increasing rapidly in an area, property tax rates are going to increase rapidly. This harms people who live in their dwellings long-term with no intent of selling to take advantage of the run-up in property values. Seniors in particular struggle with the fluctuations in property taxes. The county assessor is the person who assesses the value of the property, and that alone can be contentious because the findings can see quite arbitrary, and can be quite some distance away from market value. Thus, people struggle with the property tax system because it is too unreliable and represents a burden on their finances. Also, the property tax affects a lot of people who do not have children, but nevertheless must pay this… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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