There's an election on a school bond issue in Little College Town today. (It is actually the only question on the ballot. There's not a single other thing on there.) The pro-bond forces have done an admirable job of trying to motivate all our recently registered new neighbors
to come on out and vote.
Needless to say, this has motivated the high-brow carefully considered dialogue which email lists and electronic bulletin boards lend themselves to. I'll excerpt from the diatribe
GRRR! Rich kids deciding my taxes! ARRR!
Voting's cool, man. Vote for the kids.
Taxes don't affect students!
Jeffersonian democracy poststructuralist deconstruction antidisestablishmentarianism I've got some more big words over here.
As for myself, I've got a couple of thoughts. Frankly, I think it's kind of sad that students don't have a strong enough attachment to their "homes" that they'd change their legal residence so easily. It's unfortunate that they don't want to stay informed about their local government issues, their own Senators and Representatives and statehouses and bond issues. And to a certain extent, I feel like we've tried this move to a swing state
thing before and it didn't go well.
But that said, if you live in a place for 8 months a year and it feels like home, it's your right to choose it. Heck, I'd be shocked if I voted in a single municipal election while I was in college, so if the students are voting today, more power to them. I do think you ought to reregister your car and pay your income tax here and all that jazz, but Ohio law doesn't actually seem to force you to.
What I really wanted to address, though, is that "taxes don't affect students" idea, because it's so blatantly wrong. At the end of the day, all taxes are actually paid by consumers. And say what you will about the 18-22 year old demographic, but boy oh boy are they consumers.
But this is a property tax, you say? Exactly. I just voted for my property taxes to go up. And when they do, I'm going to be looking for a little more pay. And if I get it, the college will go looking to the folks who consume my services to foot the bill. And the same thing will happen at the barber, the bookstore, the grocery, the bar, the clothing shop, every rental landlord... and those changes will affect everybody.
What I'm saying here is that this is not just a "rights of man" issue. It's also basic bad math.
[Columbo voice] Oh, ahhh, I'm sorry, there's just one more thing. I like the little voting shuttle that's been running up and down the hill. That's very public spirited of you. I was just wondering... aren't you folks who need to drive a car 4 minutes to vote the same people who were yelling "No Blood For Oil" a few years ago?[/Columbo voice]
It's a pretty day. It's a 10 minute walk. No Blood For Oil, but No Walking For Me. Got it.