The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Our Readers Speak

February 7, 2014

Our Readers Speak — Friday, February 7, 2013

Some taxing thoughts about school bond/levy

I apologize in advance if what I write seems obvious.

Borrowers of money are seldom better off after their loan is paid back than they would have been without the loan. Not only must they earn all the money they first needed, but they must also earn the interest required by the loan.

Which brings me to the proposed bond levy.

The board of education wants taxpayers to borrow up to $39,895,000 for 7.5 years, at, they hope, under an interest rate of six percent. Let’s assume five percent. If it’s simple interest, that should be an interest payment of $1.99 million  every year.  In 7.5 years that would be $14.9 million in interest paid. That’s 37 percent of the total amount of the bond amount going to the schools. That exceeds the total amount of the bond ($12.2 million) proposed to go toward building the new Lester, Crab Orchard, Sophia, Soak Creek school. It’s almost twice the amount of the bond proposed to go to building a new Stratton school ($7.62 million).

That’s money taxpayers simply pay to bondholders who can afford to buy the $5,000 minimum bonds. That’s money that will not improve schools or build anything.

I recently got a notice from the assessor that my property valuation is going up about 38 percent. I assume many people are getting similar bad news. These new valuations should mean vastly more money going to the education system under the current tax rates. It’s hard to believe a higher tax rate is needed in addition to the higher property valuations.

What kind of difference might the bond/levy make in our taxes? Pulling some numbers out of the air, say you have the following assessed values: a car, $20,000, a house, $70,000, and land $30,000. If I did the math right, you’ll pay about $211.87 more in taxes than you would without the levy. If you own more, of course you’ll pay more.

We need more taxes? Really?

Roger Redden


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