STEVE HANLON: This is one tax plan I agree with

2013-05-03T21:00:00Z 2013-09-16T19:43:26Z STEVE HANLON: This is one tax plan I agree withSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
May 03, 2013 9:00 pm  • 

MUNSTER | I am not a politician. Nor do I play one on television.

That means I am against one person spending everyone else's money like a drunken sailor in Tijuana. Such activity has been going on way too long. That's why we're in the mess we're in, especially in Washington, D.C.

Still, not all taxes are bad. They are an important part of our society. The people of Munster will decide just how important on Tuesday. Spend a few more dollars a month or watch your schools start to buckle at the knees.

"It's the most important vote our community has had in the last 30 years," said Munster football coach Leroy Marsh, one of the best and classiest coaches in the state.

The Mitch Daniels wing of Indiana Republicans hasn't been kind to Munster. The School Town of Munster has cut $5.3 million over the last three years. Munster schools are in the top five percent in the state as far as academic testing goes.

But the district is in the bottom three percent as far as state funding goes.

Each Munster student gets $4,750 a year, one of the lowest figures in the state.

The district is facing a $3.8 million deficit if Tuesday's referendum is not passed.

Munster is not like some districts in Indiana where taxes are raised to save two athletic directors' jobs when everyone knows only one is needed. Or where countless unneeded administrative jobs are "saved" even though there are a lot of issues being hidden from the public eye.

Munster is at bare bones right now. This administration has kept a conservative eye on the money that they understand is not theirs. If the community does not step up, one of Indiana's best school districts will be unrecognizable in a year or two.

The school district would like to raise taxes 19.9 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to generate $3 million per year for seven years.

For a home valued at $244,835, the tax increase would be $253 more per year, or $21.04 per month. For a home valued at $300,000, the tax increase would be $324 more per year, or $26.99 a month.

I am against the rising tide of increased taxes sweeping this country. But that fight does not begin locally. This vote must be a yes to save jobs, programs and your children's future.

The bigger fight must be done at the state and national level.

Munster teachers already took a $5 million pay cut. They're not out jogging while everyone else is working. If the vote is a no, then expect class sizes to increase to 40 students per teacher.

Expect programs to be cut. A lot of them.

I have watched Leroy Marsh and boys basketball coach Mike Hackett develop great programs that give back to their community. Marsh's toy drive at Christmas for the needy always brings a tear to my eye.

Last season, when Munster hoops was No. 1 in the state, the Mustangs honored the National Guard and brought in some special needs students to be honored at a game.

These men and their colleagues are not blowing your tax dollars at a golf course or night club. They're doing their very best to send great students into the future.

Vote yes so this will continue.

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

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