Readers may recall my earlier post back in July about an abortive effort by the extremely rich residents of a tiny suburb of Cleveland called Hunting Valley who tried to sneak in a late-night provision into the Ohio state budget that would have exempted the residents of that town, and them only, from paying their fair share of the property taxes that fund public schools by setting a cap on the taxes they pay. The plot was discovered at the 11th hour and governor Mike DeWine eliminated that provision.
Did that end things? Of course not. The wealthy did not get that way by giving up their money grabs so easily. It turns out that they are trying to achieve that goal by other means. In an article titled The obscene conniving in Hunting Valley to get residents out of paying public school taxes, Brent Larkin exposes their latest attempts, that they are trying to get legislation passed to achieve that same end and are also trying to elect one of their own to the public school board, no doubt to undermine the public school system from within.
With a mean household income of $507,214 and average home value of about $1.3 million, the Higley 1000, using 2010 Census data, ranked Hunting Valley Ohio’s most affluent place and the nation’s 17th richest community.
But money can’t always buy the rich what they want from their government.
What a small minority of the 700 or so who live in Hunting Valley want is special treatment so recklessly selfish it would devastate the Orange public school system.
Worse yet, it might just ignite a backlash in the 615 school districts throughout Ohio, perhaps harming 1.7 million public school children in the process.
All in the name of allowing property owners in Hunting Valley – and only Hunting Valley – to avoid paying their fair share, a share every person who lives there can easily afford.
Having been rightly rebuffed once by Gov. Mike DeWine, the Hunting Valley scheming hasn’t stopped. An aide to state Rep. Tom Patton, who no longer represents the village but bows unquestioningly to the wish of residents who help fund his campaigns, confirmed to me rumors Patton is still working on legislation to give the greed-obsessed minority in Hunting Valley the tax relief they want, but in no way deserve.
Meanwhile, DeWine’s veto infuriated some in Hunting Valley, who are promising political retribution and are making sure the governor knows of their displeasure. Hunting Valley is a Republican community and many contributors to DeWine’s 2018 campaign were undoubtedly chagrined to learn their contributions didn’t buy themselves a governor.
What these money-grubbers don’t understand is, had the Hunting Valley handout been allowed to stand, people throughout Ohio could have successfully campaigned against local school levies, telling voters, “The rich don’t have to pay their fair share, so why should we?”
When one reads the language used in this opinion piece to describe the residents of Hunting Valley, words and phrases such as “obscene conniving”, “greed-obsessed”, “recklessly selfish”, “unconscionable tax dodge”, “callous disregard for children”, “Hunting Valley handout crowd”, and “underhanded”, one might be excused for thinking that the author is some kind of radical leftist. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Larkin was a long time editorial page director of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and in my view was solidly Republican, with a definite rightward tilt in his editorial policies. Under his direction, the paper almost invariably endorsed Republicans for local, state, and federal offices.
The fact that he is so disgusted by this behavior of his fellow Republicans is an indication of egregious their actions are. It is also reflective of how politics has shifted. The Hunting Valley crowd has clearly decided that in the age of Donald Trump, they are entitled to grab as much money as they can by whatever means possible, irrespective of any harm that it might cause to others or to the public good or even how awful it makes them look. “Anything goes in the service of greed” seems to be their motto. In the process they have left old-style Republicans like Larkin, people who thought naked capitalism was unseemly and thus tempered their right-wing policies with at least a patina of noblesse oblige, in the dust.