Comments about ‘Letters: Tax benefits children’

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Published: Wednesday, Feb. 20 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Sometimes things that seem rational on the surface aren't so rational when examined more carefully. My wife and I raised seven children to adulthood. Just like all other parents, we wanted the best for our children. We scrimped and scraped to provide shoes and clothes, food and housing. We were even able to take the family on a single one week-long vacation. The rest of the time we juggled the bills, paying those that came with a red-label on the envelope and hoping that the others creditors would be patient. There was no extra money in our budget. There wasn't nearly enough, yet the State had no qualms about taxing us for our food. The city had no qualms about charging us over $1,000 a year for the water we needed to raise a garden. Yes, other tax payers were taxed to pay the cost of educating our children, but we have returned that favor many times over, and our children have paid their property taxes - keeping the system going.

When there's not enough to feed a family, there's not enough to pay extra for anything else.

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

The tax structure is set so that, all other things being equal, those with the most kids pay the least for their kids education.

Take 2 families.

Family one as 1 kid and an income of $60,000 living in a $200k house.

Family 2 next door also lives in a $200k house, brings in $60,000 but has 5 kids.

Tell me who pays the most for education and why that is fair.

FYI, current per student spending is over $8,000 per year or $96,000 for 12 years.

Emajor
Ogden, UT

Mike Richards,
In other words, it's a handout when other people get it, but it is a deserved break when you get it.

Mountanman
Hayden, ID

We spend more on education than any nation on the planet and look at the results!

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC

Mike,

If I may respectfully point out a few things.

First, congrats to you as I am sure they were trying times. I cant imagine raising 7 kids.

The decision to have that many kids is certainly a personal one. However, with that comes some of the challenges that you describe.

As far as your state charged $1000 per year water? Is that too much? Rest assured, without the State (read government) water system, it would probably be either non-existent or more expensive.

Educating children is certainly expensive and we should all pitch in. You got a lot of help from others. It would be very difficult to ever pay it back, at least financially. Your children are paying property taxes, but are probably using those taxes to pay for the services that they are currently getting. They probably have or will have several children (if not more) utilizing the school system.

Bottom line, as someone with a large family, you probably got "subsidized".

lost in DC
West Jordan, UT

Taxes come in many different forms, some more regressive, others less so.

The child deduction applies to ALL income levels and affects income taxes; income taxes are not necessarily required to be spent solely for education, but are used for a myriad of state expenditures.

Property taxes ARE more dedicated for education and are somewhat more means based and therefore more progressive. The more expensive house you have, the more likely you are to have a higher income, so increased revenues through property taxes rather than through income taxes (especially with the state’s move to a more flat tax) would make more sense to me if you are looking to increase school funding – to which I am not necessarily opposed.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Mountanman:

We spend more on health care than any other nation on the planet, and look at the results!

Perhaps we could learn something from those other countries. But no, American exceptionalism prevents that. We have to do things our own way. The flavor of the month in March will be sequester.

DougS
Oakley, UT

Illinois has about the highest per/pupil expenditure in the country. Their teachers are the highest paid. How do their students compare to yours? It is not the money but rather how/what the children are taught. If you teach to the lowest level, how can you really expect to improve the results?

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

Uh oh - someone wrote a letter about the "third rail" of Utah taxes....

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Doug S,

You cannot compare highly urbanized states (Illinois) to very rural states (Utah). You need to compare similar to similar to see the issues.

If it is not about the money, then would you get the same results at 3/4 of the expenditure? What about half? One quarter?

There may be only a loose correlation between money and results. But if you think there is no correlation, then you have to conclude that the results would be the same at ANY level of funding.

Clearly this is not true. So . . . money does make a difference. But it depends on where you spend it and how.

KDave
Moab, UT

The whole argument is based on the assertion that our schools are failing. I disagree.

DougS
Oakley, UT

Twin Lights.. You discredit your own argument with your last statement re where/how it is spent. Personally, I have always felt that a good teacher was worth their weight in gold and have had several in my past. Method and content do not depend on money yet I always hear "give us more money, and we will give you a better product".

JoeCapitalist2
Orem, UT

No matter how much tax revenue is extracted from a given population, there will always be those who claim it is not enough and cite dire predictions if taxes are cut or not raised (e.g. kids will go hungry, grandma will die, or Johnny won't be able to read). Much of government policy is driven by fear instead of sane fiscal sense.

There are a number of things that must be done by the government. Other things are best left to the private sector which in my opinion is much more efficient. Efficiency (by both public and private interests) is the most important thing when it comes to improving the overall economy. Wealth is created by leveraging money, labor, and other resources to create products and services of greater value.

If government is able to leverage an extra $100 of my tax money to produce way more than $100 of real value in education, transportation, protection, or ..., then I will gladly pay it. If it is wasted or just pads some fat-cat administrator's pocket, then I'm not too happy about it.

Twin Lights
Louisville, KY

Doug S,

Not sure how that invalidates my argument. There are a good folks who go into teaching for the right reasons. There are others who would like to go in but don't feel it can pay the bills. Others who leave for that reason.

Method and content may not depend on money. But the delivery system (the teacher) does. In ANY industry I have ever worked, better salaries mean you can pick and choose your talent and get a better level of employee. Why would teaching be any different? Certainly I have seen districts that are flush with cash outspend other districts and get the cream of the crop for teachers. It is just economics.

On the other side, if you want more from your teachers (as with any employee) as in more education, more responsiveness, more whatever, then you need to offer something in return. Otherwise, market forces move them away from you and toward someone else.

Money is certainly not the solution to all problems (far from it) but to believe it is not part of the solution means private industry is totally wrong or that teaching is somehow divorced from real world economics.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah
7:40 a.m. Feb. 20, 2013

----

For the 2nd time ever,
I've checked you a "like".

FYI -
It may have never occured to you,
or you may never willingly admitt it --
but,

your entire comment is perfect example of "Socialism", and the "redistribution" of wealth.
All for the Common Good.

=======

Agreed!

Emajor
Ogden, UT
Mike Richards,
In other words, it's a handout when other people get it, but it is a deserved break when you get it.

8:00 a.m. Feb. 20, 2013

one old man
Ogden, UT

MM is a great example of how frustrating it is to spend money trying to educate people. Look at the results in that case.

Wanda B. Rich
Provo, UT

Twin Lights brings up the notion that some people would like to go into teaching but don't because they think it won't pay the bills. I have several friends who are public school teachers. Their salaries are available online. I was actually quite surprised. They make more money than I do, and I'm well above the median income for Utah. They also have good and inexpensive medical insurance and other benefits. No, they don't earn CEO pay, but to say they can't pay the bills would be stretching the truth all out of shape. No, they don't reach that level of pay in the first 10 years, but if they stick with it, they are certainly not among the 47 percent who pay no income tax.

Now, I agree they are probably underpaid considering all the work they do, the long hours they put in, and the kind of kids they sometimes have to put up with. But that's another issue.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "Steve Glaser" you are wrong. You do have a vested interest in the education of today's kids, even if you never have any. What you and many others forget is that the kids that are being educated today will be the ones working and paying Social Security taxes when you are retired. Would you rather there be lots of people earning very little working only to sustain themselves, or lots of people leading the world in innovation and earning lots of money? If anything, you should have a greater interest because if you never have kids, you will be dependant on the Government to take care of you, where the people who have kids at least have a backup.

Personally, I wouldn't mind seeing SS phased out and allowing me to invest that money on my own. I also wouldn't mind seeing the public education system either be reworked or else dumped all together. Neither works well, and are only making things worse.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah
"My wife and I raised seven children to adulthood."

JoeBlow
Far East USA, SC
FYI, current per student spending is over $8,000 per year or $96,000 for 12 years.

============

So Mike - doing the math...

$96,000 per child for a 12 year public education.

7 children X $96,000 = $672,000

Even amortorized over 20 years, than means your kids cost $33,600 per year to educate.
I serious doubt you ever "paid your own (consevative) way" for it, let alone for 20 years worth.

Granted - this is in today's dollars, but it also doesn't include ANY college money your kids recieved when going to college [if they did].

As many others have already pointed out - you were a taker, not a giver.
So - why are you not humble and thankful for it, and feel blessed.
Why do you direct so much hatred and are so hypocritically hard hearted to others in YOUR exact same shoes/circumstances?

Honestly, 'm not trying to chide you, I sincerely want to know why the double standard?

Badgerbadger
Murray, UT

My children attended school in another state and transferred to Utah schools. I had kids in K-11 when we moved.

The elementary schools here are shamefully inadequate, but jr high kids caught up, and the high school classes here were ahead of those we left.

So what is different? One of the biggest differences was that there were parent volunteers daily in the K-2 classes out of state, 2-3 days a week in grades 3-6. As one of those volunteers, I can tell you that every 1st grader was reading by the end of the year.

All children in grades 1-3 had an assignment to read to their parent every night. Here I find teachers don't like to give homework because students who don't have parents who will follow through are disadvantaged. So they disadvantage everyone to make it equal. It makes no sense.

Here in Utah, parents are viewed as barriers rather than the partners in education. That is what is costing our kids. More money won't fix that.

Jr highs here expect learning. There jr high was treated as adjustment to puberty time, nothing more. That is how Utah catches up.

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