Education tax package a good compromise

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 28, 2001

Finding money for education was a year-long battle for Alabama lawmakers that ended just before the Christmas holiday.

It may mean paying more in taxes for some, but we believe the Alabama Legislature did the right thing by compromising for the benefit of Alabama students.

All the publicity surrounding the problem of funding came in February when Gov. Don Siegelman declared proration for public schools, colleges and universities. Educators ended up pitted against each other ­ K-12 versus higher education.

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But, in the spirit of compromise it appears things may be better in 2002.

We applaud legislators for finding a way to spread the impact. Through the tax hikes made in the recent special session, neither business or the average citizen will take the hardest hit.

Raising the sales tax on cellular phones, beepers and some two-way radios will help create $162 million for education, preventing a second year of budget cuts.

So a year after proration was declared, cell phone users will be paying a bit more to help educate Alabama’s next generation of leaders, who will hopefully have more luck when it comes to funding public schools and universities.

As it stands now, Alabama residents pay a 6.7-percent utility tax on their home phones and only 4 percent on cellular phones.

It’s only right to raise the mobile phone tax to 6 percent and lower the home phone tax to that same rate, beginning in February.

Some may it consider it a burden, but it is no more of a burden that school officials having to make sure all electricity-generated equipment is turned off at the end of the day or eliminating extracurricular activities from students’ schedules.

Plus, having a cell phone is optional, so that consumer tax only impact those who choose to be in constant contact with family and friends.

A few years ago, everyone managed without cell phones and they can do it again, if they don’t want to pay the taxes.  

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