St. Charles Herald-Guide

The federal tax congress does not want to talk about

By C.H. "Sonny" Savoie - February 22, 2006

You may not know this, but you are paying a hidden tax when you pay your local taxes. Your tax bill is larger than it needs to be, despite extraordinary efforts by our local school board to cut costs. The reason for this is that two federal laws (No Child Left Behind, enacted in 1965, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) are not receiving the funding Congress promised when they passed the legislation.

This means, that the St. Charles Parish Public School system pays its portion of the federal share to remain in compliance with federal law. That amount was over $4,900,000 dollars in 2005. If that isn't ironic enough, now, as we pay our federal taxes, Congress is deciding how much more to increase our local property taxes to support our schools by reducing their commitment. Talk about fuzzy numbers!

What is this tax.? For educating disadvantaged children, Congress is providing roughly 60 cents for every dollar promised. Our school district must make up the additional 40 cents. For the education of children with disabilities Congress provides 46 cents for every dollar they promised, leaving the local district to pay for the remaining 54 cents, in addition to the local share. Nationally, the hidden tax is $19.7 billion that Congress promised to pay under these laws, yet has not paid. Instead, our community has to pay for these unmet costs and mandates. This unfortunate fact is a direct result of Congress' failure to keep its promise.

Now, our Representatives in the U.S. Congress will talk about how much education funding has increased in Washington. They won't talk about how much more our local school taxes have increased because Congress has not provided the money they promised. They believe we are awash in federal dollars, but they won't tell you about how much money they have not provided to comply with the laws they passed

The good news is that we can send this bill back to Congress. Tell them as they decide how much funding to give schools next year that they have the opportunity to eliminate this tax by providing the funding they promised. Please call, fax, e-mail or write Senators Mary Landrieu and David Vitter, Representatives Bobby Jindal and Charlie Melancon and tell them to stop raising our local taxes. Their information can be found at www.lsba.com and www.nsba.com

C. H. "Sonny" Savoie
Member, St. Charles Parish Public School Board
985-758-2494