Thirty public meetings have laid out the need for the YSD opt-out, and the consequences of not passing it. Opt-out proponents are looking out for the welfare and well-being of students, faculty and administration.
Indeed, these may be legitimate concerns, but what about the consequences that are not publicized.
What about the consequence of imposing more financial pressure on farmers? Two years of weather losses and related issues that have impacted the farm sector, with more flooding in store for this spring as well, raise serious questions about Ag viability. Farmer bankruptcies and suicides are on the rise nationally.
The imposition of more financial pressure on commercial operators will diminish their bottom line and ability to expand and employ more workers.
The 2017 median household income in Yankton County was $50,029, meaning half of households were significantly above that figure, and half were significantly below. At some point below the median, up to the very top, tax increases can be absorbed, in the short term for some; the long term for others, and not at all for those at the bottom.
What about the consequences of tax increases on elderly retirees with fixed, non-increasing incomes, who worked for modest wages; acquired modest homes for their remaining years — now faced with tax burdens that threaten their ability to remain independent in their homes.
Every opt-out issue be it city, county or school, brings the refrain: “It is only this much.” Compounding “only this much” enough times can add up to a crushing burden for folks struggling to balance essential needs with meager resources.
Those who are holding the reins of taxing authority, are well intentioned, but have tunnel vision, as evidenced by school board member Terry Crandall’s insensitive assessment of the opt-out: “We must do this in the interest of the people who matter the most; that’s our children.”
It is distressing that some — little able to endure the financial stress of increasing taxes — are of little importance, and can be cavalierly cast to the ash heap of collateral damage, as long as the objective is achieved.