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A Grassroots Revolt To Pay More Taxes

We had a tax election over the weekend here in West Feliciana Parish, to raise money for our parish’s financially strapped public schools. The tax increase failed at the ballot box, and it wasn’t really close. This shocked and appalled a lot of people; the schools are the heart of community life here, and the best thing the parish has going for it. In the wake of the loss, local man Ron Broussard, a retired plant worker, went to Facebook and is trying to start a movement. He wrote:

If someone will help me calculate what my tax increase would have been, I am prepared to write a check to the school board for that amount each year. If you voted in the “yes” group, are you prepared to do the same? I will bring my check to the next school board meeting.

He’s getting takers, too. Mind you, this is a pretty conservative community, in a pretty conservative Southern state.  I don’t know this, but my guess is that most of the people who will write those checks are Republicans. These folks just love the public schools, and don’t want to see them suffer. They believe that some things are more important to conserve than a lower tax rate, and that if you want something good, you have to pay for it.

To be clear, I’ve heard a couple of good arguments for voting “no,” so I’m not alleging that no voters care nothing for the schools. I just think it’s fascinating that there are people in this small town who love and value the public schools so much that even though the school tax went down in the vote, they’re prepared to pay extra “taxes”  (in the form of a donation) anyway, as a donation to the school system. Since when do you have a grassroots tax revolt in favor of paying more taxes?

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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