Some 150 years ago, the economist Frédéric Bastiat wrote about the economic sophisms of his day -- a sophism being an argument deliberately formulated to deceive. What Bastiat noted is as true today at it was in his day: Politicians and government officials use sophisms to make claims that, while appearing true, are actually false.
The Olentangy School District has recently added to the list of sophisms. As reported in ThisWeek Olentangy, the district's web site states, "One of the main reasons for revamping the school funding system was to take some of the burden off of the local taxpayer."
That implies there exists some taxpayer who is not local. Can that be so?
All state and local taxes are ultimately paid by the local taxpayer. Shifting the burden from the local taxpayer to the state simply shifts the burden back to the local taxpayer in the form of state sales and income taxes.
While the district sounds like it is running to the taxpayer's defense, it is not. The effort to revamp the school funding system is simply an effort to push the tax burden back to the community under a different label. Nevertheless, a tax is always a tax.
This is true: The district holds the ability to lower the tax burden of its residence. It can reduce its expenditures and reduce its operating millage. All it takes is a vote of the board.
While that action is unlikely, it is likely that the district will continue using sophisms to prepare voters for the next levy. And a levy is coming. They always do.