Corporate Commercial Appeal has engaged in a very public and very losing campaign to max out the state and local sales tax (on food, too) to pay for an increase of corporate ed early childhood seats in Memphis. Here is a clip from today's Editorial, with my response below:
That’s why we urge Memphians to vote FOR a referendum Thursday that would increase the city’s sales tax rate by a half-cent on the dollar. The increase would generate about $47 million a year, with $30 million designated for pre-K classes. The remainder would be used to reduce Memphis property taxes. Voter approval would boost the sales tax rate in Memphis to 9.75 percent, the maximum allowed in the state.….The pre-K commission members are Rev. Keith Norman, pastor of First Baptist Church Broad [sic]; R. Brad Martin, interim president of the University of Memphis; Barbara Hyde, chairwoman and president of Hyde Family Foundations; Barbara Holden Nixon of The Urban Child Institute; Elsie Bailey, former Booker T. Washington principal; Kathy Buckman Gibson, chairwoman of the Buckman International board of directors; Kirk Whalum, president and CEO of Stax Music Academy; and Dr. Reginald Coopwood, president and CEO of the Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
To the Editors:
If there were a plan to provide early childhood education for poor children, then the only remaining issue would be the fact that the poorest are expected to pay the most so that property owners can have a tax break at the expense of children who need the pre-K most. In other words, poor folks of Memphis, if you want more seats for your children, you have to pay for a tax cut for the middle class with your self-imposed tax increase. The only thing good about this? If passed, regressive sales taxes will have reached their limits.
When looking at the composition of the Commission to decide how the money is spent, there is a notable absence of any working poor representation, no parents, no early childhood educators, no child development experts.
There are plenty of Business Roundtable representatives, political hacks, and corporate education meddlers, however. The local education industry vampires and those who have been attracted to Memphis by the smell of public blood are lined up with their Powerpoint presentations cued up and sheafs of applications from white missionary do-gooders.
Call it robbing the poor so the rich can rob them some more.