Pounds: Taxing decisionsWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no question that the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County deserves community support. As does Lucas County Children Services. As does the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library. As does Toledo Public Schools. As do the region’s Metroparks, and, separately, Toledo city parks and recreation facilities.
But when all of these organizations, along with Imagination Station and possibly others, are likely on the same ballot with levy requests, difficult choices will have to be made.
According to the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, if all these levies pass, those living in the Toledo Public Schools district who own a home worth $100,000 would see a $345.21 per year increase in their taxes. If you own a home worth $150,000, your increase will be $517.81. If your home is worth $200,000, your increase will be $690.42. That represents more than a few dinners out, movies, zoo trips, Mud Hens games or other activities, not to mention such niceties as groceries, utilities and savings.
As a side note, be wary of media and levy-seeking groups that use the $60,000 home median instead of the standard $100,000 median. That is a disingenuous attempt to make the levies sound like less of an investment than they are.
During the 2008 presidential election, voters passed levies for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Imagination Station’s precursor COSI, Mental Retardation Board, Mental Health Board and Children Services and several school levies. But this deep into the economic recession, even these most vital of services may find themselves facing fewer voters willing to reach deeper into their pockets.
It may be seem logical that higher voter turnout may mean more support for levies, but that thesis will be tested this year as never before. Each of the organizations will need to work to educate the voting public on its services and needs; as unpleasant and distasteful as they may find the idea, these organizations are not only fighting the economy — they are fighting each other.
The idea has been floated to create an “umbrella” levy that would cover several human services, but that would remove voter accountability from the individual organizations and is therefore not an option scrutinizing voters are likely to support.
Toledo Free Press will endeavor to report on every ballot issue and levy as fall approaches, and each organization is invited to submit guest columns for publication. There may be four months until Election Day, but it is never too early to begin the education process when there are levies in question.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press and Toledo Free Press Star. Contact him at email@example.com.
Tags: Imagination Station, Lucas County Children Services, Mental Health and Recovery Services Board of Lucas County, Metroparks, Publisher's Statement, Toledo Public Schools, Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, Tom Pounds