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Letter: More taxes are not the answer

To the editor,

I like a good debate, especially in an election year. There are many challenges facing our nation and our state and taxing people to no end is not the way to get us out of a jam. It will only exacerbate the problem further and pass along those challenges to future generations.

Responsible spending, a fiscally conservative approach to dole out our money to programs that bring a depth and quality of life to all Minnesotans is what we all need. In our school District 196, our school board is moving forward with a plan to put on the November ballot the question as to whether or not to increase our taxes. Let's call a spade a spade -- instead of putting a spin on this as an "operating levy" (which technically it is, yes), just say what it is, a tax increase, for the maximum amount allocated by law, for 10 years.

In this economy, do we or can we, any of us, really afford a tax increase? I ask all citizens in the district to look at the Rosemount Town Pages -- I've looked at and read this paper for many years and over the past 1 1/2 to two-year time frame, there have been no fewer than seven, or eight, or nine or 10 pages each week, every week, of mortgage foreclosure announcements in the back section of the paper. There are many, many families that can't afford to even feed their families (why do you think food shelves are seeing record numbers of people looking for aide and assistance) and our school board is asking the fiscally irresponsible question to put a question on the November ballot to raise our taxes. Where are your priorities? In Minnesota alone, through June of this year, over 11,500 families have had to file for bankruptcy -- the highest number ever. There were over 484,000 new jobless claims by Americans in the month of July. Record numbers for unemployment and families that are hurting to no end to make ends meet. I will mirror my earlier letter to the editor to Rosemount Town Pages back in July -- now is not the time to raise taxes.

Just tell people of the district the truth. Sure, the school board hired a firm to take a survey, the survey came back with great results indicating that the levy would possibly pass. It's all spin and the bottom line is, if this levy is on the ballot and if it does pass, our taxes will be increased by the maximum amount for a school board operating levy, for 10 years. It's irresponsible -- maybe not all, but most families, have had to rein in their budgets and spending and I'm sorry to say, if that means cutting some additional programs at the middle school or high school level in order to do so, then that is what we need to do. Almost all of the votes taken by our school board are rubber stamped, 6-0 with none of the school board members having a dissenting vote or debate. If our district continues to go down this path and residents of the district don't voice their concern, then we all will continue to suffer the effects of increased taxes for many many years to come.

Mike Udermann