This past weekend marked another opportunity for us to exercise our right to vote. Personally, voter apathy bothers me and it seems to be more and more prevalent in our society. On the one hand, I understand that people may not be involved in the issue du jour. On the other, shouldn’t they simply appreciate their right to exercise an opinion?
This past weekend the citizens of Dallas had the opportunity to elect three new Dallas Independent School District board members. I was happy to see my candidate win. To me, this is an opportunity to provide a report card on my representative. After all, I pay my property taxes regardless of where I choose to educate my children. But isn’t it interesting that I do not write that check directly to the school district? Let me go even further. As is not my case, but may be that of many, that tax could also be escrowed in my mortgage. Is it possible that this tax is so hidden that I don’t even care?
I suspect if I had to write my check directly to the DISD, I might take a little more interest in who represents me. Whether it is $200 or $20,000, property owners pay taxes, but they do so as an obligation and, for most people, there isn’t the time to break it down into silos and study the math.
For the sake of conversation, let’s discuss my DISD taxes. I paid the DISD $3,207 on my last tax statement. When I looked at this, I began to ask myself, how often do I write a check for that amount and not even take time to think about it. Not very often. That’s a lot of money, for anyone.
If I hire someone to work on my car for $3,207, I make sure they are a pretty good mechanic. If I was to hire someone to paint my house for that amount, I will certainly make sure they will do so with quality in their work and legitimacy in their operation. So, if I am paying the DISD $3,207, you can make damned sure I am going to vote for the person who, in my opinion, is going to be the best steward of that money, and encourage my friends to do so as well.
I believe that if our school district taxes were not buried in the tax bill or our escrow, if we had to write the check to the district ourselves, we would probably pay a little more attention to who we elect as our “mechanic.”