Monday, October 13, 2008

Akron Issue 8, Scholarships for Sewers?

First off, this doesn’t “Guarantee Our Children’s Future”. What it does do is a) attempt to shore up Akron Public School’s declining market share as a payoff to the teacher’s unions (otherwise, there’s no need to discriminate against Catholic Schools, CVCA, and homeschoolers, now is there? If the point is to keep high achievers in Akron, why rule out the groups with the best chances of succeeding?) and b) attempt to chain graduates to Akron. It certainly doesn’t do anything to generate a positive business climate with available jobs and opportunities once these kids graduate.

As an economic development tactic, the city would be light years ahead to lease the sewers (assuming that someone is willing to take on management under some pretty trying conditions), cut city tax rates, and take the rest into developing additional small business incubators with tax breaks, etc.

In other words, something that might help to provide some jobs for the graduates.

Secondly, this is not a scholarship program, it’s a loan program with an indentured servitude requirement. You don’t repay scholarships; you repay loans. Unsurprisingly, this angle isn’t exactly stressed in the Issue 8 ads.

“Repayment Requirements

Students who receive any scholarship funds under this program must pay the City’s income tax for 30 years. If a recipient lives or works in Akron for 30 years, the scholarship money will never need to be repaid. A recipient whose income tax is not withheld by their employer because he or she does not live or work in Akron must still file an Akron Income Tax return annually and pay the equivalent of the Akron income tax, as amended from time to time. This tax is applied only to the income of the individual who received scholarship money. This payment assures that Akron residents who are investing in the students will receive a return on their investment. In most cases, the total payments spread over 30 years will be a better deal for the
student than repaying a student loan over 10 years.”

So, sign up for this “scholarship”, and you’re committing to paying Akron City Income tax for 30 years. That, baby, is a very long time.

Assuming that you can find a job in Akron that may not be such an onerous requirement. Indeed, the less money you make, the better deal it is. Indeed, the ideal candidate would probably major in an interdisciplinary degree from one of the grievance group “studies” departments. If you want to be an engineer, the math starts to look a bit different.

The proposed amendment can be found here.