HITCHCOCK, Tex. – According to the Galveston County Daily News, officials within the school district of Hitchcock, a small Texas town 45 minutes south of Houston and 10 minutes north of Galveston, declined the possibility of an election for a tax hike. A yes vote on the proposed tax hike would have raised the property values of the small town an extra $0.13 to make the maintenance and operations budget based on $1.17/$100 of assessed property value for residents in the district’s boundaries. Officially called a tax ratification election, Hitchcock Independent School District trustees for the district declined putting the issue up for a vote due to the tough economic conditions experienced by the region and country at large. Because of this, employees within HISD can expect job losses because of the district’s deficit of $1.5 million.
It is always a tough decision to tax residents more than they have already been, especially given the brutal economic times. On the flip side of it however, it’s even tougher to make even more people suffer and become casualties of the rough economic times. If residents of this town of more than 6,000 people pitched in and paid a little extra on their taxes, then not only would they be saving the jobs of numerous people but they would ensure that their children would be better served from an education standpoint.
Granted, it’s easy for an outsider to encourage more taxes on a municipality of which he or she does not inhabit but what must be kept in mind is that this benefits the children of the city and would help lead them on a better path toward the future. Paying more taxes is never fun no matter what it’s for and it is true that residents of this small town have been paying a very high rate for it’s schools as it is but unlike in the case of paying for sports stadiums, this would go toward a good cause. If a city does not value it’s education system (which is not to say Hitchcock doesn’t) then concerned parents will be less likely to reside in the said city.
Finally, the decision made by the HISD trustees was a disservice to the residents because it did not allow them to have a chance to vote for it. There is no guarantee that if it was put to vote that Hitchcock residents would have voted for the measure, especially since convincing people to raise taxes is never easy.
What happened in Hitchcock was relatively minor in the grand scheme of it all but serves as example of why taxes in some cases be justifiable since they benefit the entire community. If a community is not willing to spend on it’s schooling, then it won’t attract residents looking to give their children the best chance at their education.