ACBA Quarterly Forum: Better Than Reality TV
Better than reality TV of course because IT IS REALITY. Why the hell would I want to watch "Men In Trees" on Thursday night when I can watch two sitting Missouri State Representatives (Pat Yeager D-96th and Mike Vogt D-66th) and sour grapes (losing) candidate from the 96th District Ronald Levy engage in verbal combat! (Mr. Levy if you take offense at my comment, remember that my hat is off to you because you ACTUALLY RAN for office as opposed to creating a fictitious one for yourself to claim!)
The topic of the night was education funding in Bayless as opposed to Affton. While Affton does generally not fair the best in the region, it looks like a gold brick next to Bayless. It was a compelling presentation (which I will try to obtain and post.) Largely at issue was a description of the new state school funding formula. It is the proverbial "doozie." (Pull out your nerd glasses and graphing calculators now.)
As I understood the explanation, it bases funding on a statistically impossible goal set by (among others) a school's average daily attendance. After I heard that, the rest of the formula was shot for me. It does not take a genius to realize that even if your average is 95%, you still have to PROVIDE for 100% of the students. There is a LOT more ridiculous math that goes into this (phased in over many years, making the funding amounts based on up to 5 year old data!) Perhaps that's why half the schools in Missouri sued the State in retaliation.
ANYWAY...far more fun was listening to Ronald Levy. He also thought the school issue important and proposed that we adopt a method similar to Proposition 13 passed in California. This bill basically freezes real estate taxes at the purchased price and only allows up to 2% increases per year regardless of any increase in appreciation value. This idea may have merit in Affton for some reasons, but I don't think it's going to fix school funding.
I understand that seniors are having a hard time with increasing tax burdens on their homes and there are some programs (two at this link) out there to help them.
While I support everybody's right to argue their tax assessment (I've done it successfully myself!) I think arguing it in court twice in four years is excessive and a waste of MY TAXPAYER DOLLARS. Just look at the amount of writing time that had to go into these cases!
LEVY v. "The Assessor" 2002
I'm no political adviser, but I don't think calling the assessor "discriminatory" without any evidence to support the point is appropriate for a State Representative candidate!
LEVY v. "The Assessor" 2004