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City Chamber of taxes: A 'shallowly' education view

January 10. 2013 10:57PM

The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce and others do their push for public education improvements no good at all with the idea of doing away with the voter-approved tax cap and of making the Manchester School District its own taxing authority.

It is unclear exactly what Chamber president Robin Comstock (a non-Manchester resident, last we checked) meant in telling a city Charter Commission hearing that her members think something is wrong with education in the city and "it affects everything as shallowly as property values and as profoundly as work-force development and readiness."

As "shallowly" as property values?

Whether you think property values are too high or too low, they affect how much money one pays in taxes, the greatest portion of which goes to pay for schools. Most property owners we know think their property taxes are pretty high, hence their embrace of a tax cap, which they approved years ago but which then had to overcome many roadblocks put in its path.

Coming on a night when others were calling for an end to the tax cap, the Chamber head's dissing of property values as a mere "shallowly" thing seemed right in line with that pro-tax sentiment.

That is exactly the wrong message to send to Manchester taxpayers and the wrong way for the Chamber and others who are serious about improving education to proceed.

Where is the focus on the refusal of the teachers' union to bear a bigger share of health insurance costs as other city unions have done?

Where is the embrace of Mayor Ted Gatsas' efforts to make wise use of technology, including virtual learning?

If these people are serious about improving education, they better dial back the tax-and-spend rhetoric and promote some real-world solutions.

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