Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Hardin County school tax issue
There's a huge debate going on in Hardin County, Tn. right now over the upcoming countywide vote on whether to remove a one cent sales tax that was implemented in the mid 90's to pay for the renovation of the Hardin County High School. The issue at hand involves the decision to close down most of the elementary schools on the eastern side of the Tennessee river in the county. This move by the county leaders enraged a lot of people in these communities where the schools are located at. So they went out and gathered enough signatures to have the sales tax removal put to a vote in a special election here in a few weeks. The county is planning to use this sales tax to help pay for these two mega elementary schools they want to build. So if the county does vote to remove the one cent sales tax. Its believed the county leaders at that point would be more willing to help renovate or build new schools in these communities that are currently slated to lose their schools. In the interest of full disclosure I don't live in the county so I really don't have a dog in this hunt. But if I was still living in Hardin County I would vote to keep the tax and here's why. I understand where the parents and locals are coming from in these small communities. I still remember when the elementary school I attended in Saltillo was closed twenty two years ago. I also understand their point about how this one cent sales tax was only meant to pay for the high school renovations and then it was suppose to sunset. Im also very sympathetic to their argument that we shouldn't trust government leaders. They claim they lied about this one cent sales tax in the 90's and their lieing again today about it and will continue to lie as long as the voters in the county allow it. Here's the reason though why I would keep the tax and it has to do with the economy. Where is the economic growth in the Walnut Grove, Walker and Nixon communities that would justify spending millions of taxpayer dollars to renovate the existing schools or build new schools? There isn't any and to my knowledge there never has been any economic growth in these rural areas. North Elementary is also slated to close under the arrangement and even though it is in the Savannah city limits where most of the county's economic base exists. Its my understanding that this school is in pretty bad structural shape and renovating it wouldn't be economically feasible. You also have to take into account that its better to acquant children with each other at an early age instead of the current arrangement of ninth grade. It would help them get used to being around each other and stop the culture shock that they currently experience of trying to establish friendships with fellow students they've never met before going into their freshman year of high school in Savannah. So in my opinion that factor and the lack of economic growth in these rural area's should override the other factors in this debate.