Manny Diaz, chair of the Florida Senate Education Committee,  plans to introduce legislation to exempt people over 65 from paying school taxes. This would destroy public education, since its funding depends on every citizen paying taxes for its support, because they are citizens who have a stake in the future of our society.

We do not exempt childless people from paying for public schools. We do not exempt those whose children have finished school. We do not exempt anyone from paying what belongs to the public for the benefit of the public.

Should you get a tax rebate if you didn’t call the Fire Department?

Orlando Sentinel columnist Lauren Ritchie writes:

“Never mind that Florida already shamefully ranks 44th in per-pupil spending across the nation.

“That’s irrelevant,” said Senate Education Committee Chairman Manny Diaz, a South Florida Republican who now says that he plans to amend the bill so that the proposed homestead exemption covers only new taxes rather than existing ones…

”An aide for Diaz, whose district covers part of Dade County, on Thursday blamed the department that writes legislation for the sweeping scope of Senate Joint Resolution 344 that would let longtime senior homeowners off the hook for most school taxes…

“Asked who paid for the education of that older population, the senator also brushed that question aside as “irrelevant.”

“Except that it’s not.

Diaz’s philosophy behind this tax cut is a deeply flawed plan that is a slippery slope to chaos: He says seniors who don’t have children in school shouldn’t have to pay for future students or improvements.

“Seriously? This society decided long ago that some important government functions — providing education, building roads, repelling invasion by foreign powers — are key to making the U.S. a strong and healthy country. Everyone contributes to keep it that way.

“If seniors are exempted from paying for schools, why aren’t they charged double for ambulance service? After all, they’re the ones using it most. And what about paying for the nation’s interstate road system? Who here wants to be charged for roads in Nebraska? And police? Those with weapons may argue that they don’t need law enforcement — they handle threats themselves. If you’ve never called 911, should you have to pay?

“This user-fee notion is not just bad philosophy — it’s harmful to public institutions that keep society from crumbling. There is one way and one only to improve Florida schools, which are attended by 90 percent of children: Fund them.”