Monday, May 19, 2008

Hit the Ground Running

I've got a lot to do this week and not much time to do it, so I'm anticipating less density in the posting here. I'm a really lousy clairvoyant, though, so we'll see how it goes.

1) The Robinson campaign has completely revamped their website, www.robinson2008.com. Lots of video, easy navigation, new text, etc. If you haven't checked this guy out yet, you really should at least read his bio.

2) The Garland campaign used their website to help promote the New Albany parade I mentioned here last week. This would appear to signal the anticipated re-emergence of the website as an active element in the campaign.

3) New Albany is looking to buy up undeveloped land, simply to prevent school-aged children from moving into the residences that could be built on it. In other words, they don't want to be the new Hilliard. While I'm happy about the unintended anti-sprawl consequences (at least in the short term), this is absolutely bonkers. When Emily Kreider ran for the 3rd district State Senate seat in 2006, she was asked what she would do to fix our unconstitutional school funding system. She would reply that Ted Strickland had promised to come up with a workable plan, and that she was pledging to support Strickland's plan. At the time I thought it was a really good answer.

4) I hate to say it, but McCain was actually pretty funny on SNL this week (Above all, America is looking for a president with oldness...). What I am finding more and more striking about McCain's approach, though, is his pretending to be a Democrat. He's putting issues like Climate Change, Health Care, etc. front and center in his campaign. For the last couple of cycles, many in the netroots (among others) have argued that given a choice between an actual Republican and a fake Republican, voters will choose the genuine article. Generally, they've been right. Now it looks like voters will have a choice between a real Democrat and a fake Democrat. I can't say I'm unhappy about the way that looks to play out.

5) If you were spending a week in Seattle on business, what would you do with your evenings? What's worth playing hooky one afternoon for?

5 comments:

Paul said...

Bonobo:

Thanks for saying something about the New Albany strategy to buy up undeveloped land to protect the schools. In the current funding regime, it makes perfect sense, and I've suggested the same over here in Hilliard. The notion hasn't gained much traction yet - in fact the Hilliard School Board just sold 90 acressold 90 acres of land it owned TO a developer.

The current funding system is badly broken - I agree. But regardless of the method of taxation (property, income, etc) the objective is to transfer money from the wealthy suburbs to the urban and rural districts. I don't have a problem with this, but we need the Gen Assy to give suburbs a tool to protect itself from funding distortions caused by rapid development, eg. Impact Fees.

PL

bonobo said...

Paul,

There is no funding reform that doesn't take some sum of money from the aggregated mass of suburban residents, and transfer it to urban and rural school districts. At least in the near term. Although it apparently isn't, this should be obvious. On the other hand, moving away from funding sources that are tied to the specific people, buildings, and businesses inside the district limits should lessen the impact of adding new families.

On a different tack, could cities charge $10,000 for each residential building permit, and put that into an endowment that supplements per pupil funding?

Jason Rowsey said...

Very interesting post about school funding. We know that it is a mess, but aren't sure what to do to fix it. Paul has some very interesting ideas and I applaud him for getting a dialogue going.

Many school districts are moving toward income taxes rather than property taxes. What do you guys think about that?

Paul said...

Jason:

The problem with income taxes is that the revenue streams are much less stable than property taxes.

But one could argue that home values and incomes correlate well for people who are actually working and paying mortgages, so it doesn't matter which form you pick if you want to get a tax that somehow correlates to wealth.

The big difference is with senior citizens, who often have declining incomes at the same time their property values are increasing. This is easily overcome with exemptions, with either property or income taxes.

The real objection the education industry has to the property tax regime now in place is that the taxpayers get to vote directly on the levies, bypassing all the lobbying and politics of the Statehouse. And that's exactly what the OEA wants to fix by turning school funding over to the State BOE and the General Assy.

We are reaching a state in America were the best middle class jobs are those in the public sector: decent salaries, great health benefits, defined benefits pensions waiting at the end.

In a macro sense, wealth is being transfered from private sector workers to public sector workers.

Some would call this a march toward socialism. I fear there will be a revolt before then. A good friend of mine who is also a former central Ohio School Board member told me that he thinks it will take the collapse of a major school district to cause the mostly apathetic people of our community to support radical change.

PL

Paul said...

Bonobo:

What you're talking about is an Impact Fee, which I absolutely support.

Here's the legislative proposal I sent to State Rep. Larry Wolpert and State Senator Steve Stivers. It might have had some influence on the introduction of HB299 in the 126th GA. But it got zero support from the OEA (because they want the local funding system to fail), and the developers killed it.

Impact Fees have been used all over America in high growth districts. Unfortunately, the developers and homebuilders have bought control of their agenda in the Statehouse (this is a great book on the subject).

That's why New Albany had to take matters into their own hands.

PL