Not a “Blank Check”

The Madison Metropolitan School Board approved placing a three-year recurring referendum on the November ballot and enacted tax mitigation policies Monday, August 25, 2008. This is a good referendum, a good package and if passed will help create a positive atmosphere for the anticipated strategic planning that will make our schools even better while minimizing the costs to local taxpayers. Much more in the coming hours, days, weeks and months.

Just one thing that needs to be said now. Both before and after the vote opponents and other “watchdogs” cultivated deliberate misunderstanding by labeling the recurring referendum a “(virtual) blank check.” It is nothing of the sort. It is a “check” (taxation authority to exceed the revenue caps by up to) for $5 million the first year, $9 million the second year and $13 million each year thereafter. A blank check is a check that may be written in any amount; this referendum asks for specific authority up to a maximum. The idea of a “virtual blank check” is illogical demagoguery. Either a check is blank or it isn’t; it is like being a “little bit pregnant,” no such thing. Those who are pushing this line are insulting the people of Madison.

Thomas J. Mertz

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Filed under "education finance", Accountability, Budget, education, Elections, finance, Gimme Some Truth, Local News, Referenda, referendum, School Finance

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