Thursday, June 06, 2013

Your taxes at work

We don't pay enough tax in Australia. That is why our infrastructure is so poor and our care for the disadvantaged is wanting.When I say we don't pay enough tax, I think I pay rather a lot. Someone in Australia is not paying enough.

Yet some of our poorest peoples' taxes go towards private schools. That is posh schools for rich people. But posh schools have turned into working class schools where people who 'work hard and both work two jobs to send my children to a good school' send their children. I shouldn't dis private schools as Sister is a teacher at a posh private school, and Little Jo's welfare depends on Sister's income, well Bone Doctor's too, her other mother. Little Jo may not get a sweet treat at the time of her choosing now, or that new toy, or a meal from the Scottish Restaurant but she will never really have to really worry about money. Lucky her. Most of my life, I have had to worry about money, the lack of it. While I have enough now, it is still a concern with R in semi retirement. Anyway, Sister took the first teaching job she could get and stuck at it. Normally quite vocal, she doesn't say much when I go on one of my funding by the public of private schools rants. Nor does the privately educated Bone Doctor.

I am not sure if I think it is wonderful to have enough money, or I want to go back to the French Revolution where they chopped their heads off the rich who would let them eat cake.

I am thinking of the parents dropping their kiddies off at Melbourne Grammar School. They cause terrible street congestion. They make illegal U turns. They park where they can find. They delay the tram along the street.  I hate them. Yet when I see their angelic sons getting out of the cars, my heart melts, for a nano second. After their son has picks up his school bag and sports equipment from the back of his parent's SUV/4WD, with a tailgate that rises ever so gently, and then lowers by an electric motor, I wonder about the so called egalitarian Australia.

That some state government schools are so neglected and desperately need funds, yet the government ploughs money into already rich private schools and this is intolerable, in my view. You can see exactly where are governments are taking education. In time only the very poorest in society will go to state owned schools, the rest will be privately educated, mostly by religious institutions.

The above was written some time ago and I am sure you find me banging on about the massive subsidising of  private schools by the lowest of taxpayers, quite tedious.

But how much money do private schools get? So much they feel obliged to give some back apparently, as Melbourne's Wesley College has done. Of course they can afford to be generous when their property speculation has so successful.

''Wesley paid about $400,000 for this piece of land back in the mid '90s when they acquired it from VicRoads - they are now seeking to develop it for upwards of $30 million,'' Cr Lake said. ''Here is a private school that has basically been given a gift by the Victorian taxpayer and they are now wanting to turn that gift into significant profit.''

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/national/education/parents-neighbours-wage-war-against-wesley-20111206-1oh9n.html#ixzz2UlykDDQx

Unrelated, and to show my political bias is not as strong as you may think,  tabloid tv this week tried to pillory ex premier Baillieu over him having a government supplied car and driver. The usual, snouts in the trough. I don't mind Teddy Baills being pilloried, but for the right reasons. He is entitled to the car and a driver, so attack the politicians who make the rules, not the person who takes advantage of them. It is Baillieu's right and he would be mad to not take advantage of it, no matter how personally rich he is.

18 comments:

  1. Don't get me started on private schools, I will never understand why they get any government funding at all, they charge the earth.
    All the people I know who went to private schools think their education was somehow better than anyone who went to a public school because their parents paid for it not because they worked hard and learnt stuff.
    Merle.......

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    1. Agree Merle, but I do know some privately educated people who are quite decent and modest about their education.

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  2. Although the idea of wealthy private schools seems ideologically unsound and financially ruinous to the community, they shouldn't be closed down. Since 25% of the school-aged population doesn't go to government schools, I would give those schools EXACTLY the same amount of money per child that the government gives to state schools per child.

    That would be financially equitable, plus it would allow parents to give their children the special religious background they choose.

    What is totally immoral, in my opinion, is that private schools receive much MORE per child than do government schools. If the tax payers didn't have to fund posh private schools' swimming pools, fancy tennis courts and excursions to Paris, the parents at the private schools would have to pay themselves. Or not. It wouldn't be the tax payers' problem.

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    1. Hels, won't that see more and more kids going to private schools?

      I am sure you know my views on religion, and if it must be taught out of a historical and cultural context, then I don't think it should be done by schools that are there to educate and I certainly don't think it should be subsidised by taxpayers.

      Of course the lavishness of the few really top private schools and them receiving quite a bit of government money is what really gets up people's noses. Tax deductible building funds indeed.

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    2. Andrew
      let us say that it costs the government $1000 per child per year in a government school and $10,000 per child per year in a private school. If the government gave EVERY school in the state $1,500 per child per year, _regardless of which school they attend_, how could that possibly end up seeing more and more kids going to private schools? Au contraire, since the parents in private schools would have lost all that extra subsidy.

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    3. Hels, I don't believe that private school children are subsidised more than state schools. In fact I think I think the ratio might be more like state educated kids might cost $10,000 against private of $1000. I don't recall bad feeling towards Catholic schools when they began the ball rolling by being subsidised by the Whitlam government, I think. But when people seeing money going to Grammar, Scotch, Xavier, etc, that is when they get cross, or in my case, very cross. Lower fees can be asked from parents too, if they contribute to the school building fund, which is tax deductible for the parents. So, the government pays more subsidy and the parents lower fees while they contribute tax deductible donations to build the third swimming pool. I just seethe.

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  3. Makes no sense to me at all Andrew. You choose to send your snotty kid to a private school, you pay the price, quite literally. Government should have no say or stake in them at all, even if they do relieve state schools on som level.

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    1. Craig, in a previous rant about private schools, I mentioned 'snotty nosed school kids', and one from Melbourne Grammar jumped in in comments and had taken great offence, but he rather missed the point and took it as a criticism of his school. I replied, oh that all children could get the education and facilities you have and Australia would be a better place.

      Government's need to intervene to the point where they are sure that children are getting a good education in these private schools.

      Now, I don't know about British private schools. Do the get subsided directly by taxpayers? I think not, or much less.

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    2. I'm pretty sure our private schools (known as public schools just to confuse the issue) do not receive funds. There is a new type of school here called free schools which can be set up in competition to a poorly performing state schools and they can receive local government funds if the authority sees fit.

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    3. Craig, I heard something about them on the radio the other day. I wasn't paying full attention but I did not like the sound of them.

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  4. "...it is wonderful to have enough money..."
    I agree, but we'd probably disagree on how much is enough.

    I care nothing for ex-politicians and their rights. A gubmint car and driver? Pfft! Those rules are silly, it's a huge waste of money in my opinion.

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    1. Easy definition River, as much money as you are used to living on. Our incomes have always been modest and we have worked hard for what we have, which is not a great deal and we certainly don't live the high life, no matter how well I paint it.

      Gubmint, haha. I was feeling blue, but you made me smile.

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  5. That's exactly like in Belgium ! (if that can comfort you) and we are amongst the first 3 countries in tax paying ! On top is Sweden. Your gross salary is shortened by 40 to 50 % of your income ! That's enormous !

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    1. That is a very high tax Gattina, but I think you have good social security, retirement income and money is spent on infrastructure.

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  6. Interesting debate Andrew..when P was working full time (now semi retired) he was paying 45% of his earnings to tax, not an incentive in my opinion to work hard :) My two went to a public primary school and a private (not an exorbitantly expensive and just down the road from us private school!) high school. I can't say for sure if they received any better an education than they would have in a public high school, but at the time I felt it was worth tightening the belt (horror stories from the local public high school)for peace of mind. They've both gone on to get good jobs which they probably would have where ever they went..oh, and my opinion of SUV/4WD's is way more vocal than yours, especially since one of the ba.....s! put a dent in my wee Ford Astra at the shops the other day and didn't even leave a note, seriously who needs a car like that in the city..pillocks :)

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    1. Grace, 45% is too high. It is the richer people who have the means and accountants to minimise their incomes, some even having money offshore, that need to pay so those of us who have no opportunity to reduce our income on paper and have to pay our tax as we go, could pay less.

      It seems to depend very much on the school as to how good the education is. We have some secondary government schools here which people move to their catchment area so that their kids can go to the local school.

      I used to get stuck into people who drive SUV/4WDs, but too many, including some of my blog readers have them, so I have toned it down now. Sorry about your car.

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  7. If education funding actually went into education and not into vote-buying schemes to give individuals the money instead of the schools we wouldn't be having this conversation!

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    1. Red, if what you are saying is let's reinvent the way we do education in Australia, a good school system for the whole of Australia funded by taxpayers, then I would be happy with that.

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