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DEMOCRATIC, GOP TAX INITIATIVES CRITICIZED

 DEMOCRATIC, GOP TAX INITIATIVES CRITICIZED
 LANSING, Mich., Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Detroit School Board Finance


Chairman David Olmstead and University of Michigan Professor Philip Kearney today blasted the Democratic and Republican property-tax initiatives and called upon the Michigan Legislature to place a principled school-finance and property-tax-relief proposal on the ballot -- one based on nine principles they've established in consultation with business and education leaders throughout the state.
 "The Democratic and Republican proposals have not been crafted to meet the needs of children and taxpayers, rather, they have been designed to solve the partisan political problems of the parties in the 1992 election," said Olmstead, "while we drafted our principles after listening to educators, business persons and community leaders around the state describe the real problems they face every day."
 "The people of Michigan demand leadership to provide real school- finance reform and property-tax relief. The 20-year-long shell game of the Lansing political parties must cease."
 "We will be leaving yardsticks with members of the Michigan Legislature today, inscribed with three questions that should be asked of any property-tax and school-finance proposal this year: Will it provide permanent and fair property-tax relief? Will it fund schools adequately and fairly? and Will it build Michigan's economy?"
 "The partisan tax proposals headed for the ballot this fall fail to meet these standards. We believe that the Olmstead/Kearney principles we've developed can help enlightened lawmakers of both parties formulate a tax-cut proposal that will."
 The Olmstead/Kearney principles focus on resolving the problem that's left both taxpayers and educators frustrated and angry, our over- reliance on the property tax to fund schools. The principles rely on a new standard of state support for schools 50-50 plus the lottery, to force the state to reform the manner in which schools are funded and to permanently reduce the school property-tax burden. Key elements include:
 -- Roll back school millage rates to 30 mills and spend $750 million in state funds to reimburse local school districts for lost revenue.
 -- Commit $900 million in state moneys to adequately fund the state aid formula, so that each school district in Michigan has the resources to offer children a first-rate education.
 -- Repeal tax-based sharing and raids on so-called categorical school aid that have left the state's more-affluent school districts uncertain about their financial futures.
 "Only the Olmstead/Kearney principles solved the real property-tax problem in Michigan," said Kearney. "All across this state, local school districts have been forced to raise local millage rates to exorbitant levels because the state, for 20 years now, has failed to provide adequate support for education. When the lottery was approved in 1972, the state of Michigan was paying about 50 percent of the cost of K-12 education. The voters said 'yes' to the lottery because they believed they were sending new moneys to our schools. Instead, we've seen state support for K-12 fall from one-half to less than one-third. Olmstead/Kearney will redeem the pledge made to Michigan voters when the lottery was approved and help us achieve the quality school system we need to compete in the 21st century."
 Before leaving Lansing, Olmstead and Kearney vowed to promote the O/K principles across the state. Olmstead said he thought the Legislature would get the message. "We hope lawmakers will use these yardsticks to make an honest assessment of our principles. We intend to make sure that these principles are on the minds of every Michigan voter next fall. We believe that the voters will have very little patience with elected officials who are more interested in partisan posturing than in solving the real school-finance and property-tax crisis in Michigan."
 -0- 1/15/92
 /CONTACT: David Olmstead, Detroit School Board finance chairman, 313-496-7510; or Joseph Katz of Katz and Associates, 313-334-5928, for the Olmstead/Kearney Proposal/ CO: Detroit Board of Education ST: Michigan IN: SU:


DH -- DE009 -- 9935 01/15/92 10:59 EST
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Date:Jan 15, 1992
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