While Rollie Heath and his Tax Hike Team are busy bamboozling 4th graders into standing behind them for political press conferences and raising money to raise your taxes, they might want to think about investing some of that time and money in remedial math education for themselves.
When Heath announced his tax hike plan to raise taxes an average of $600 million per year for five years we took out our calculator and realized something didn't add up. The total cuts to education this year were $227 million to K-12 education and a $125 million cut from higher ed. That adds up to $352 million, a far cry from $600 million. Which got us thinking.
If Heath's tax hike were to pass it could actually be spent on whatever the General Assembly felt like. Nothing prevents the Legislature from taking this new $600 million and putting it to education, and then taking $400 or $500 million of current education funding and spending it on something else. This isn't speculation: it’s what happened with both Referendum C and Bill Ritter's mill levy freeze property tax hike. In both cases, the whole ordeal was a great big money laundering scheme. In the name of education, taxes get raised, but that doesn't mean all that new money actually flows to education.
But even assuming that they don't follow the path they tread on Ref C and Ritter's mill levy, if they spent that $352 million on education, there would still be nearly $250 million kicking around in a slush fund for the politicians in the Capitol to spend. And there is one thing you can be assured about politicians. If you give it to them, they will find a way to spend it.
Someone needs to ask Rollie Heath how he does his math. Or at least explain where he plans on spending the additional $250 million of your money he wants.