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  • Writer's pictureCindy Nicolai

But My Tax Dollars Pay For It!

Argument: But my tax dollars paid for it so I deserve to cash in on it.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard that phrase or some form of it when speaking with people about equal access or other forms of government funding. I could argue with them on many points but let's just let the numbers speak for themselves.

According to

3% of the entire federal budget goes to Education, which combines three subfunctions of the education, training, employment, and social services function: elementary, secondary, and vocational education; higher education; and research and general educational aids (subfunctions 501, 502, and 503 respectively).

If your gross income was $50,000 and you have no other income and take the standard deduction, you'll owe $6,250 in income tax, plus $2,825 in payroll taxes, for a federal tax burden of $9,075. Your average tax burden is 18%. Of those taxes, Medicare and SS would be $3,825, leaving a tax base of $5,250. Out of that amount, $157.50, only 3% would be directed toward education. Out of that 3%, only $47.25 or 0.3% goes to accelerate academic achievement in the K-12 classroom.

So far, your taxes have paid $47.25.

The expenditure per student in Oklahoma for 2019 was approximately $8,100 ($8,097 actual). Let's assume you have the average 2 children in your home, which would bring the total to $16,200. But, if you are a constitutional home educator, and like many of my friends or one of my children, chances are that average number will be closer to 4. So, at the least your family's average yearly cost to the state for your child to attend public school would be $8,100 and it only goes up from there. No, there are not multiple student discounts. So that we don't confuse anyone, we will just go with a single student cost but remember to multiple that number for your own family population.

So, your federal taxes have paid in $47.25. Where does the remaining $8,052.75 of the subsidy come from?

You can see for yourself in this link, what the average breakdown is for Oklahoma property taxes. Some counties may vary slightly but we will use this site for an average.

Before calculating your Oklahoma property tax, a very common question is in reference to what is actually funded by property taxes. In Oklahoma, as in most states, property taxes are the primary funding ingredient for local governments and schools. Here is the breakdown by percentage:

Schools ‐ 58.07%

Tech Centers & Colleges ‐ 13.18%

As you can see, the majority (71.25%) of your property tax dollars are used to fund schools and Career Tech. Property tax in Oklahoma is .74% of the value of your home. So, if you have a home that has a taxable market value of $150,000, your property taxes would be approximately $1,068.75. Out of that amount, $627.35 will go to K-12 education.

You have now paid in $674.60 of the $8,100 per student expenditure.

Now add in Oklahoma state tax at a rate of 5% (I used the highest rate) or $1,410 of $50,000. Of that, 11% of state tax revenue goes to education, which would add another $155.10. We now have a grand total of your tax dollars paying (do I hear a drum roll?)...

$829.70 or about 10% of the actual per student expenditure. That's it. You are about $7,200 and some change short.

Who pays the rest? Well, in reality, your neighbors do through their taxes, but once that tax money is transferred to Uncle Sam, it belongs to Uncle Sam, so technically, the government is almost totally funding public education, not the parent. At the income and real property base listed above, you can only claim about $830. So, If the saying is, “you get what you pay for” then you might get four text books. Unless you have three (or more) children enrolled, and then each kid might get one book each.

Then, if you add in all the costs associated with sports or other extra-curricular activities, you would have to have one big farm because you can add another $3,000-$4,000 on top of that $8,000 per student per year just to play football. You might think your taxes pay for it, but what it could cost a constitutional home educator to participate can’t be measured in dollars. You can’t put a price on freedom.

In order for the parent to rightfully say, “My taxes are paying for this and I deserve it,” he would have to gross well over $1,000,000 in annual income and have a taxable property base of over $1,000,000 to even come close to actually claim credit for funding just one child’s basic education.

So, next time you hear, or heaven forbid, say that phrase, I want to be around because if you are making that kind of money, you’re buying lunch.

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