The Washington County Commission will be discussing a wheel tax this evening…in addition to the property tax increase they passed last month. The reason for these additional gougings, er, taxes, is to build new schools and to renovate existing ones. My question is, when these new schools are built, and current schools are renovated, are these taxes going to be repealed? Call me crazy, but I seriously doubt it.

This is exactly what Greene County did some years back. They passed a wheel tax to “build needed schools,” but, once those schools were built, the wheel tax did not go away. What is the Greene County wheel tax money being used for now? Your guess is as good as mine, but I’m pretty sure it’s not going to school-building and renovation.

A better solution was offered by the Unicoi County Commission, and will be presented in a bill to the General Assembly during the next legislative session by Rep. David Hawk of Greene County. This bill would allow more lottery money to be spent on facilities for kindergarten through 12th grade education. Brilliant! Use the “tax on people who are bad at math” to educate Tennessee’s little ones! I love it! (Not to mention the fact that, because I don’t play the lottery, I won’t have to be paying extra for all those facilities that I and my children will never be using). Hawk’s plan would “not add state funds to the pot but would ensure that some of it can be spent on construction of new buildings and expansion of existing facilities” (JC Press). Hawk said: “I think that this is the best alternative to look into. I feel more comfortable looking into this plan than finding additional dollars somewhere else within the budget. Since the lottery education fund is already set up to be used for capital outlay projects, I think that we try this first.” I find this to be a much better solution than taxing Washington Countians out of their very pants.

However, because the Washington County Commission was too busy trying to get re-elected to worry about little things like money needed to improve school buildings, the School Board is pushing to get the funds NOW, leaving little other option than screwing us out of more of our money. I knew there was a reason I didn’t vote to re-elect a single Washington County Commissioner. You guys should have written me in…

Nevertheless, if the school board can cool their jets for a bit, and the commission can stop being so money-hungry for just a moment, there may be a solution in the form of Hawk’s lottery bill. Otherwise you can bet that my husband and I will be moving to a county with a lower tax burden and more intelligent leadership the first chance we get.

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