School Levy FearmongeringThere could be good news for Ohio taxpayers on the horizon if a bill introduced by Representatives John Becker and John Adams gets some traction and with 24 cosponsors it’s off to a good start.  HB 240 would end February and August special elections, the favored tool of school boards to get levies by distracted taxpayers ready for a break after the big polling seasons of November and May.

That school districts are the primary offender of the special election was proven last week in Ohio where 23 of the 28 elections held were school related.

Becker and Adams contend that the bill would save localities money and it would. Cleveland.com reports localities actually incur greater expenses with less issues on the ballot.  But even more importantly, no one shows up for special elections opening up the possibility of a major tax increase going through with the approval of a small portion of the community.  Of course, this is why school boards like special election so much.  The strategy is wear the taxpayer down by coming back again and again.  At some point, the opposition runs out of money and energy or the voters get side-tracked with snowbirds leaving for their winter respite or haggard citizens heading off to a much needed summer vacation.

The importance of HB 240 to fiscal conservatives cannot be understated.  The fewer chances big government has to come after the taxpayer, the lower our taxes will be.  The Ohio School Board Association agrees.  Cleveland.com tells us the OSBA has vowed to fight HB 240 just as they have fought similar issues in the past.  The OSBA represents the interests of school boards and will consult with them on how to win a levy campaign.  School tax dollars actually go to the OSBA in the form of membership dues so that school boards can have the OSBA on their side when it comes time to go to the voters for more funding.  The OSBA even holds workshops to teach school board candidates how to be “good” school board members.

The OSBA does not seem to have much faith in the voter, though, as they are not willing to accept the results of an election that does not go a school district’s way.  In the Cleveland.com article, Jay Smith, a lobbyist for the OSBA, explains.

“Sometimes it takes a while to educate the voters as to what they’re proposing.  I think you have to have those additional voting opportunities, especially if it gets voted down the first time.”

And with this quote the schools’ strategy is laid bare – we will keep coming after the thick-headed, uneducated voter until we get what we want.

Co-Sponsors of HB 240 include Beck, Blair, Boose, Brenner, Brown, Butler, Damschroder, DeVitis, Dovilla, Hackett, Hall, Hill, Hood, Huffman, Lynch, Maag, Perales, Retherford, Roegner, Stautberg, Terhar, Thompson, Wachtmann,  and Young.

OLC members should get behind HB 240 by letting their State Rep know that February and August special elections are unnecessary, costly and not representative of the community.

Read the Cleveland.com article here.