Community control of our tax dollars

Published 2:00 am Sunday, January 29, 2017

As taxpayers to the State of Mississippi, citizens expect their elected state leaders to prudently allocate their money in support of essential services such as public education, mental health, public roads and bridges, and public safety.

According to Representative Jay Hughes, JD, State Representative from District 12 at Oxford in Lafayette County, “the legislature is trying to lay the groundwork to raise your local taxes by shifting the responsibility of K-12 public school funding down to your counties and cities.” The full text of his email to his constituents was cited on the Editorial page of the Oxford Eagle, Jan. 25, 2017.

If the legislature, with the support of the governor, elects to abandon its responsibilities to fully fund public education according to current law, we the taxpayers should refuse to remit our local sales and income tax dollars to the “black hole” treasury in Jackson. Instead we should keep our tax dollars in our communities to support our local public schools, a welcome opportunity. By doing so, we can mitigate any further tax increases and potentially avoid any tax increases as predicted by Representative Hughes.     

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State politicians and bureaucrats do not appreciate the educational problems, needs, and interests of local cities and counties, nor do they represent the best interests of those outside their districts.  Why then should they dictate how our local schools are funded, how well they should perform, and what outcomes should be achieved?

It is particularly troubling that they conveniently ignore established educational standards, proven best practices and requisite funding needs. Moreover, priority must be given to unique educational characteristics, demographics, socio-economic, and cultural needs and interests of our local public schools. We request that all taxpayers in Mississippi join together in putting an end to the inadequate funding of public education by the State. Now is the time to act by calling or writing your legislators.

Thank you for your support and action.

Bruce and Mary Betsy Bellande