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Letter to the Editor - Bret and Pamela Smith

Article Date: 
21 June, 2013 (All day)

Dear Editor:
The local levy is a very hot topic, with a $1.3 million price tag for Morgan taxpayers at stake.  The root of this issue is whether three of the five elected School Board members (a simple majority) will have the authority to decide how tax dollars are spent without input from taxpayers. 
There are sincere individuals on both sides of this issue, however, our goal is to make decisions based on correct principles, emotion removed.  “Most of the major ills of the world have been caused by well-meaning people who ignored the principle of individual freedom, except as applied to themselves, and who were obsessed with fanatical zeal to improve the lot of mankind-in-the-mass...with the abiding assurance that the end justifies the means.” (“The Mainspring of Human Progress” by Henry Grady Weaver; The Foundation for Economic Education)  Voting to pour $1.3 million (or more), over the next five years, into the school budget without requiring at least a yearly accountability to the people paying for it is a bold request.  
 As parents, giving a credit card to one of our children to make our financial decisions, with our money, and not allowing us a voice in the matter, would be irresponsible, no matter how much we trust them.  To do the same thing in government is even more dangerous.  It was George Washington who said, “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master.  Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
Frederic Bastiat, called taxation legal plunder.  He asked, “How is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply…See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong.  See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.  (The Law, p. 21, 26)
Morgan is one of a handful of districts without a levy.  Senators Reid and Christensen, who attended the School Board meeting in Dec. 2012, sympathized with our district’s funding challenges, but said all districts in the state are struggling.  
The stunning reality is, however, the districts that have implemented tax levies are multi-millions of dollars further in debt than Morgan County currently is, with no end in sight.  Higher taxes have not solved their financial woes, they have only postponed the inevitable task of finding real solutions.  
Fiscal responsibility and innovation are essential components to problem solving.  Every household has adjusted and continues to adjust their budgets in a changing economy. Should we ask less of the School District in Morgan County?
We appreciate those helping to educate our Morgan children, and we appreciate taxpayers who are funding this endeavor.  Neither should be overburdened by the weight of the task. 
A promise of “bread and circuses” is at our doorsteps with the levy tax vote.  Higher taxes, without accountability to the people, is not the answer.  We believe the people of Morgan County can and should do much better! Please join us in voting NO on June 25th.
Bret and Pamela Smith