MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - You've got to love the expression, "the elephant in the room". It means that we should stop avoiding the obvious, and it came up recently in an editorial board meeting discussion on education and property taxes.
Generally speaking, in areas with good public schools, property taxes fund education. Yet property taxes in Alabama are so low that sales and income taxes fund education, and because that revenue is low and unstable, education suffers.
No one wants to vote to raise their property taxes so elected officials rarely bring it up. But if anyone in a community should be willing to sacrifice to fund public education, it should be property owners, large and small. We are invested in our communities and should understand that investing in education pays huge dividends.
If the legislature isn't willing to push for higher statewide ad valorem taxes, perhaps cities and counties are. Just look at places such as Auburn, Homewood and Mountainbrook where ad valorem millage rates are higher. It is no coincidence that their public schools excel.
Spending more money alone may not fix education's problems, but underfunding education will definitely break it. Property taxes are the elephant in the room and raising them is the ultimate solution.
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