School choice helps taxpayers as well as pupils

Christian Schneider

Among the ways of calling people greedy, there is no more puzzling way than accusing them of wanting to “have their cake and eat it, too.” It would seem that cake’s inherent utility, without being eaten, is limited. What are you supposed to do with it if you don’t eat it? Dress it up like Harry Potter? Use it as bait for a ring of international cake thieves?
Thus, in order to characterize the avaricious nature of Wisconsin taxpayers, I have decided to coin my own soon-to-be-popular phrase. For instance, Wisconsin citizens want “to go on a date with a girl and have it end without her throwing a drink on them,” which, given my past experience, is really the best-case scenario.
A Marquette University poll released last week shows that as taxpayers, we think we can have it all. In the poll, respondents strongly supported increasing funding for public schools – 71.9% believed the increase should be somewhere between 1.5% and greater than the rate of inflation. But when given a choice between increasing funding for schools and cutting property taxes, more respondents favored the tax cuts. The message: Go ahead and increase funding for schools, as long as we don’t have to pay for it.
The highway funding system also gets similar treatment in the poll. A small number (27.9%) of Wisconsin residents support raising gas taxes or vehicle registration fees to pay for transportation projects, and an even smaller group (24%) supports borrowing money to build roads. Conversely, a much higher number (42.5%) of Wisconsinites oppose reducing transportation spending if it delays road projects. At least in the short term, these numbers appear to be incongruous, as it seems the state will have to pick one or the other.