Letters to the Editor 5-12-22
The proposed Manhattan Beach parcel tax is unwarranted for two reasons: There is a more effective way to raise revenues: Restoring enrollments to their 2018 levels would raise more money than the parcel tax. Moreover, the fact that enrollments have fallen indicates the funding problem is one of MBUSD’s own making. The quality of education declined, students fled, and state funding decreased by the amount of the enrollment decline. Providing more money to a school system parents don’t want their children to attend is not going to increase property values.
Anne Marie Knott
Vote yes on Measure A to give Manhattan Beach schools more money under more local control. No one in Washington DC or Sacramento is going to give us the money to fix the decades of underfunding in MBUSD. We didn’t create this problem, but we also can’t wait around and expect someone else to solve it for us. Now is our chance to provide a long-term solution to funding our schools before it’s too late. Approving Measure A allows us to keep the money raised and keep control over how that money is spent. It’s not money we send off to Sacramento so the state can choose how much to send back or tell us how to spend the small fraction of money they “graciously” send back to us. Every penny of Measure A funds stays in Manhattan Beach under our control. Passing Measure A means more local control. Measure A clearly dictates how the money can be spent. It requires audits to verify that all money raised is spent only on the eight simple uses outlined in the ballot measure. An unpaid Citizens Oversight Committee is required to meet and report regularly to ensure that the money is being spent appropriately. This is our money and we control how to spend it. Vote to fix our schools with our money under our control. We want more money for our schools without more outside interference. Join me and vote yes on Measure A.
If you knew the facts, you would vote no on Measure A. We already have a Measure MB property tax, which runs for another two years. Measure MB parcel tax is $225 per year, approved by two-thirds of the voters in 2018. If Measure A passes we will be paying two parcels taxes. Measure MB, and Measure A until 2034. The Measure A parcel tax is $1,095 for the first year but is indexed to inflation. Inflation is currently running at 8.5 percent. Notice how gas and food prices have skyrocketed? Imagine how skyrocketing property taxes are going to impact you. Think pre prop 13 when people were losing their homes. This tax will force many to leave the area. Many MB residents are house rich but cash poor. MBUSD has lost 1,096 students (17 percent) since 2014-15. Yet the Board’s spending is up by double digits. Why are students leaving the district? Can you imagine schools in the private sector losing 17 percent of their customers, and not knowing why or trying to retain them, and then asking for a larger budget?
Enrollment is down, costs are up. Why reward the district with more money? Show us where MBUSD has made budget cuts. I urge everyone to read the initiative as written. It clearly states the tax is $1,095 and indexed to inflation. Measure A is unfair, allowing it to be passed with a simple 50 percent plus 1 majority. Vote NO on Measure A.
A Measure for measure
My husband and I have lived in Manhattan Beach for 21 years. We moved here because of the excellent education MBUSD provides. I’m proud to say that MBUSD was the foundation to our children’s successful education. I want to take a moment to publicly thank the City Council and the MBUSD school board for working together to approve a legally binding MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), which lays out the senior exemption process and how the inflation rate will be assessed each year. Just like the current Measure MB exemption process, seniors will only file one time and then MBUSD is responsible for filing the annual renewal on behalf of the resident. The MOU was based upon best practices already in place and working for our residents. The other important process established by the MOU was how the inflation element will work. Each spring the city will evaluate the current CPI. The average CPI over the last 25 years was 2.5 percent. The city will then use either the CPI or a maximum of 5 percent, whichever is lower. The first inflation adjustment can not be increased until July 2023. To find the exemption form you can visit the MBUSD website and go to the Parcel Tax page. Let’s continue to focus on the education of our young children by supporting Measure A!
Attention all renters! Measure A parcel tax is four times the amount landlords are currently paying. This tax will be passed down to you. As inflation grows this is not the time to tax. Not to mention the school board that is in place is the same school board that ran over budget. Why would we throw good money after bad? Not to mention they have offered no game plan on how this money would be spent. It amazes me with all the excitement over what is being taught in school, why anyone would give money and not know where or what it will be going to. They should be transparent and show us a business plan first, at the very least.
A big fat No
I find it unusual that the school board was planning to propose a new parcel tax essentially equal to the current parcel tax that will expire in a couple of years. The board held off pending a citizens potion for a new parcel tax to support the schools, which gained enough signatures to go on the ballot. The new proposed tax is almost five times what the school board was going to propose, and also includes yearly increases based on the CPI. Why are we looking at giving the schools almost five times what the board itself thought they needed? I could agree with an extension of the existing parcel tax, but to significantly increase it, plus annual increases? This is asking too much. Do it right, and I might vote yes. Measure A is flawed, I vote no.
Follow the Measure A money
I am supporting Measure A 100 percent. There are many reasons why I think it’s the right thing to do. I also believe it’s the smart thing to do as well. Here is one of those reasons. “Follow the Money.” Let’s “follow the money” for Measure A funds. First, Measure A funds will support keeping MB schools great. Second, great MB schools result in increasing property values. Third, increasing property values results in more property tax revenues for the City. Fourth, more property tax revenues for the City means better city services, including public safety services. The simple truth is approving Measure A is an investment in the future of our children, our families, and our community. We all know our great schools have been the primary reason why families continue to move to MB. And, why these families spend millions of dollars for their MB homes. Just look at how this dynamic has increased the property values in our community over the last 10 to 20 years. I think it would be prudent to support Measure A, so this dynamic continues for years to come. If you are unhappy with our school board, the time to voice your displeasure is in November, not June. Please don’t conflate the election in June with the MBUSD Board election in November. Doing so is nothing more than politics. For the greater good, we should all set such politics aside. Let’s keep Manhattan Beach, Manhattan Beach.
Not partial to parcel tax
I can’t get my arms around this second parcel tax. Think of it, a multi-multi million dollar Strand homeowner will pay the same amount as a 2 bedroom, 80 year old box in East Manhattan. This tax is totally regressive.
The District website says the 2018 tax provides “safe, reliable revenue” for the District. So, I ask, what happened in four short years? It generated $2.5 million dollars annually for our schools. Now, MB United’s citizen’s group wants $12.2 million dollars of our money each year on top of the first tax. When will this stop?
Did you know enrollment has plummeted by 1,030 students or 14.9 percent since 2014-15. With a diminished student body, why do they need more money?
The 2018 “fix the problem once and for all” is now just 4 years old and the advocates want nearly 4 times that original $225 on top of their last tax initiative.
With our current national inflation rate of 8.5 percent, this parcel tax will double to over $2,000 in year number 8. In its last year, it will be well on its way to $3,000. annually.
The ultimate irony is one of the pro-taxers arguments is that 65+ seniors can opt out. What a bizarre reason to vote for a financial levy on the residents; that you can opt out.
It’s time to return to reason. No on A, period.
Correction: In the May 5, 2022 Easy Reader print edition, a letter in support of Manhattan Beach Parcel Tax Measure A, was mistakenly attributed to Manhattan Beach resident Fred Taylor. Taylor’s letter to Easy Reader was in opposition to the parcel tax. Taylor’s correct letter is printed above. Easy Reader apologizes for the error.