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Monday, December 5, 2016

Why the Specifics Matter on School Funding Promises

December 2, 2016 - State Budget, State Issue2017-19 State Budget, Advocacy, K-12 Funding, Property Tax, Referendums, Revenue Limits, Robin Vos, Scott Fitzgerald, Scott Walker, WASB Advocacy Tips - Chris Kulow

When an increase in school funding isn't!

... School district budgets are controlled by the state-imposed revenue limits. Revenue limits are the reason lawmakers can increase the amount of general aid for schools yet school budgets remain essentially frozen. If the per pupil revenue limit doesn’t increase, the additional state aid goes toward reducing property taxes, plain and simple. (See graphic above.)There are good reasons why lawmakers are so fond of revenue limits.  As the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance notes, they “give lawmakers near total control over school revenues, other than those from Washington.”  Revenue limits also let lawmakers increase state aid while reducing property taxes at the same time, thus checking all the boxes voters want checked.To get more money into school budgets without increasing property taxes, lawmakers must either increase revenue limits and general aid at the same time or increase the per pupil categorical aid payments to school districts.Because lawmakers haven’t allowed increases in school district revenues to keep pace with inflation in recent years, we have seen record numbers of successful school operating referendums. As school leaders know, the only way school districts can exceed the revenue limits so the district can keep pace with inflation is by seeking voter approval of a referendum. We have to educate our lawmakers to make sure our lawmakers understand this, too.

Republican lawmakers seek limits on school referendums ... overturn local control; 3/31/17

School districts would no longer be able to ask voters to raise their taxes permanently and districts would lose some state funding if they exceed their state-imposed limits on raising property taxes through referendums under a package of bills Republican lawmakers are releasing this week.
... “I believe there is more harm being done to our tax climate via school referendum than anyone realizes,” said Stroebel, R-Saukville. “If everything passed, next year property taxes in Wisconsin would be $63 million higher just from operating (referendums) this election and voters would have approved a total of over $2 billion in school debt in the past thirteen months.” 
i.e., the property rich would pay more since property tax burden is proportional to value.

It's a fact not a bias.  If you have little in the way of property you should be seeking tax credits as a way of balancing "inequality", not property tax reductions.  Walker is playing you for a "sucker" and really benefiting his "wealthy" donors!

Specifics #SchoolFunding - Limits that sound like Increases : District budgets are controlled by the state-imposed revenue limits. Revenue limits - reason lawmakers increase the $ of general aid yet school budgets are essentially frozen. WI 1848 Forward

WI 1848 Forward: Specifics Matter on #SchoolFunding Promises - #Walker Limits sound like Increases for #schools NOT

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