Missouri Republicans are lying to voters about their Tax Dollars and the relationship with public schools. They’re trying to convince voters that they need to support school choice platforms that allow a parent to redirect money that would be spent in public schools to other schooling options – like Private Schools, Home Schooling, and Charter Schools.
This is the pledge:
“I pledge to support policies that promote parental rights in education and educational freedom. This includes the right of parents to voice their opinions at school board meetings and to take their children’s taxpayer-funded education dollars to the education providers of their choosing – whether it be a public, private, charter, or home school.”https://www.edfreedompledge.com/
29 Missouri Lawmakers, 1 county commissioner, and the Missouri Secretary of State signed on to this pledge so far.
Franklin County, Missouri
We are from Franklin County, so that’s where we’re going to focus our attention. In Franklin County R2 School District, a child’s Taxpayer Funded Education Dollars amounts to $10,579.92. This pledge wants parents to be able to spend that money however they want for their child.
Missouri Republicans: That’s your tax money, you should dictate how it gets spent. But there are two problems with that line of thinking. First: Missourians elect State Representatives and Senators to determine how tax money gets spent. That’s the whole point of having elections. Secondly, the majority of tax dollars spent in public schools don’t come from the parents. Not by a long shot.
Education in Missouri is funded from 3 basic sources. First is State Funding, second is Local Effort, and finally Federal spending. Local effort comes from Real and Personal Property taxes. The highest tax rate in Franklin County for 2020 was 7.7604%, so that’s the most a parent could be expected to pay in property taxes in 2020.
The average value of a home in Franklin County is $208,000, with an assessed value of roughly $39,520. The Real Property Tax bill for an average home in Franklin County is $3,100 a year. We also average 2 cars per household in Franklin County, and the average age of a car on the road is almost 12 years old. Looking at the Toyota Camry (2010’s most popular car) – the value is around $6,000 in amazing condition. The assessed value of that is $1,998, for a Personal Property Tax bill of $155.05 per vehicle, or $310.10 for both.
Note: In 2020, a 2013 Chevy Captiva’s assessed value was $1,780.00, so this number may be a bit high, but that errs on the side of the parent in this instance.
All in all, a Real and Personal Property Tax bill in Franklin County averages $3,410.10 for the average family, which is 3.1 people. If you add in their income taxes that they might owe, then the total tax bill (not including sales tax) is $6,318.76 per family.
Note: Median income in Franklin County is $57,214. That puts the family into the top tax bracket of 5.4%. The total income taxes owed to the state of Missouri without any modifiers: $2,908.66
For the Franklin County R2 School District, the Federal Government chips in 3.93% of the bill ($415 per student). We are going to take that out of the equation, making Missouri responsible for $10,164.56 per year, per student.
The difference between what they family pays in taxes, ($6,318.76) and what Republicans want to give them, ($10,164.56) is $3,845.80.
But that’s not the whole story
It’s an even bigger deficit if you realize that Franklin County only has a 3.84% tax on Real and Personal Property to fund schools. School Districts in Franklin County get just under half of the tax revenue collected, which is 49.48%. The Missouri State Constitution requires 25% of all spending be on Education. Only 25% of collected income taxes should go toward education, or $727.16, for a total of… $2,414.48 of their tax money going towards their kid’s education.
23% of their taxes go towards paying for their kid’s education, which means 77% comes from tax payers who don’t have kids in the school district, or from local businesses. Missouri Republicans want to make sure the majority of tax payers don’t have a voice in how the money is spent, and they’re claiming that it’s all about parental control.
Taking money from one group to give it to another? Turns out, Republicans have a word for that: Socialism
Republicans in Missouri signed on to a Socialist Manifesto. Let that sink in for a moment.
What Happens Next?
What happens after they dismantle public schools and start giving away tax dollars? They might remove the tax incentives, (because they’re a handout) to families. Which would leave thousands of Missouri Students without a chance at an education.
Wanting to make Education better for all students is a noble goal, and it would be great if Republicans got on board. But they would rather sink education completely than see us succeed.