The Palm Beach County Libertarian Party (LP Palm Beach), the third largest political party in Palm Beach County, weighs in on the proposed $1 per $1,000 property value increase in property taxes. The proposed increase is meant to go to the already well-funded Palm Beach County School District which spends $3 billion a year via county taxpayer, state taxpayers, and federal taxpayers.
While it is often cited that the average Palm Beach County teacher is barely making ends meet and this is often cited as one of the reasons for this property tax increase, the facts show county teachers make much more than the average Palm Beach County resident. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, $35,000 is the per capita income for county residents, while the average salary for county teachers is over $43,000. So, while teachers are not getting rich, they are doing above average with respect to income and benefits.
Another reason for the property tax increase proposal is to help pay for better protection for students against harm from outsiders. Karl Dickey, Chair of LP Palm Beach, said this morning, “Taxpayers are again being asked to pay extra for the poor design and operation of our public schools. Our children are our most precious resource, why has this not been the top priority in the past and why have so many children died due to the poorly operated and poorly designed government-run school system? With a budget of $3 billion, the school district should be operated more efficiently and offered our children better-designed schools years ago.”
The Libertarian political philosophy is that taxpayers should not be forced to pay for government-run schools to educate children and for so long as the State of Florida has, through its Constitution to provide free public education, LP Palm Beach honors that parameter. In a freer state, it would be the responsibility of parents to educate their children and other family members as to how their children are educated, not the government.
Libertarians agree with most Americans that our public education system is in trouble and seek to end the authoritarian government indoctrination by offering freedom and liberty to students and society as a whole. LP Palm Beach is pleased to see the recent reduction of the federal government’s influence in our county school system. Even the U.S. Department of Education has found holes in the notion that more funding of schools brings about better results. The report found that despite an infusion of federal dollars into the nation’s worst schools, there was no difference in test scores, graduation rates, or college enrollment between the schools that received the grants and those that did not.
LP Palm Beach supports the best education available for Palm Beach County students and rejects the notion that if government-run education was to end that it would create a population of ignorant and uneducated county residents. Schools should be developed and operated by those who are gifted educators who will teach future generations how to improve the world in which they live.
LP Palm Beach suggests that all taxpayer money that is required under the Florida Constitution should follow that student, whether at a government-run school, a charter school, or a privately-run school. In addition, LP Palm Beach supports independent trade, business, and vocational schools as not everyone needs or has interest in a formal post-graduate education. We need electricians, plumbers, engineers, medical professionals, artists, agricultural workers, and laborers who are skilled and talented in their fields of expertise.
Dickey added, “We oppose the proposed property tax increase for additional public school funding as we feel the $3 billion taxpayers are already spending is more than sufficient to meet the county’s education needs.”