Park Elementary

The north addition of Park Elementary, seen here on the right, was built in 1956. It will be demolished as part of the conceptual plan for renovations to Hutchinson Public Schools’ preschool to fifth grade learning spaces.

It has been said by some unknown author that the only difference between an armed robbery in an alley and taxes is the number of accomplices.

The property owners in Hutchinson were again the victims of a robbery involving the legal taking of a not insignificant amount of money from each property owner and continuing to extract this amount for many years to come. This robbery succeeded because the “Yes” side had 118 more accomplices to this robbery than the victims, who did not to agree to have their property threatened by adding a larger tax burden. If the “Yes” voters were the only ones who had to bear the burden of the tax increase, this would be a fair system, but this burden falls on all of us.

If a private school or business needs a bigger building or more money for any reason, they turn to investors who voluntarily invest or give to the project. Government-run schools use the law to coerce people to contribute to their projects by a process known as a bond referendum. The clear threat being spelled out is the fines and ultimate seizure of your property if you do not pay the property tax. A threat just as real as the robber’s gun in the alley.

According to “The Right to Vote: The Contested History of Democracy in the United States” by Duke University professor Alexander Keyssar, before the founding of this nation, leaders saw the danger in having people who may not be property owners voting to take funds from those who had property. Typically, in 1780, only white, male property owners 21 or older could vote. Some colonists not only accepted these restrictions but also opposed broadening the vote franchise.

While no one would seriously propose going back to the voting restrictions of 1780, the fact remains that the problem of taxing everyone in a community to support the perceived needs of a limited few continues to be an issue.

Once they have extracted the funds from the property owners, they have no motive to use those funds in any reasonable and economical manner since they can always go back next year with another tax referendum.

The main beneficiaries of the tax bond money, it seems to me, are the construction contractors and school administrators who take pride in building “show palace” schools that may not serve the students any better or as well as simpler structures staffed with competent teachers. The recent high school project being a good example.

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