To the Editor: Median BG household can't afford more taxes
Written by Kenneth Gutbrod   
Wednesday, 06 February 2013 10:17
The median household income of $30,000 in Bowling Green cannot support another tax increase.  (The Board of Education proposal would increase taxes $310 for the owner of a $150,000 home.) Teachers pay only 9% of their health insurance premium. For administrators the public picks up 100% of their pension and provides generous health coverage. Step increases are not a normal private industry practice. In the private sector it is rare for employers to pick up 100% of dental and vision benefits. In 2010 only 15% of private industry workers were in a defined benefit plan (pension).  Even fewer get COLA increases on their pension.
The Board of Education pays approximately 100 people a salary of over $75,000/annually. The majority of these people worked 184 days in the year. Additionally, last year the Board paid over $400,000 to employees for cashed in sick leave.  The average government worker already has a better pay/benefit package than the average private worker. Society can't afford to widen the gap further.
Public pensions and benefits take an ever increasing percentage of the purse. Because of declining wages in the private sector, combined with high rates of medical inflation, the current system is unsustainable. Teacher layoffs and larger class size are the wrong way to achieve budget balance.  We need reform in a way that more closely aligns pay and benefits with the private sector. The current trend line will bankrupt us.
Citizens should be reminded that by far the highest percentage of their property tax already goes to schools (64%). Additionally, we all pay a school income tax. The Board of Education intends to come back to the voters in 2017 for an even larger tax increase. Private sector citizens/businesses can't afford this burden. The current system cries out for reform. Before any citizen votes for any additional school tax, we should demand that the playing field be leveled between the public and private sectors.
All public employees need to participate in the same economic reality as the private sector. This means 401k's in place of defined benefit plans and greater participation in paying for health care. Voters should insist that our representatives crack the golden benefits that we, the ones paying the bill, have seen disappear years ago. We are on a treadmill that misallocates scarce resources. Vote for reform. Vote for families. Vote no!
Kenneth Gutbrod
Bowling Green

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