Why I am opposed to school age tax exemption

Published 5:07 pm Monday, January 6, 2020

Dear Editor,

I have watched with interest the initiative to abate Troup County school taxes for all of those age 62 or older. Although this act, if passed, would benefit me personally I am opposed to a school tax age exemption.

As someone that has been involved in police services for over 40 years, I have gained a significant appreciation for the important anti-crime role our educational system plays in public safety and in addressing social ills. In Georgia, a majority of those convicted of committing serious crimes, resulting in a prison sentence, failed to complete high school. Moreover, the impact of education as it relates to health, substance abuse, poverty and employment is demonstrative and compelling:

  • Nationally 16% of state prisoners have a high school diploma
  • High school dropouts are seven times more likely to live in poverty
  • Substance abuse is twice the amount for high school dropouts
  • High school dropouts experience higher medical costs
  • High school dropouts are ineligible for 90% of the jobs in the U.S.

According to the American Public Health Association, high school graduates are less likely to participate in food stamps, housing assistance, criminal behavior or enroll in Medicaid. In short, high school graduates raise healthier and better-educated children.

Finally, I believe as a citizen whose children had the benefits of a public school system almost two decades ago, I also have a perpetual responsibility to pay taxes and support education. Just like my fellow citizens, of all ages, did to support my children’s education years ago.

Louis M. Dekmar